Jerry Martinez

Coach Jerry Martinez was born and raised in Houston. He played baseball and football in high school, but never ran. In 1956, at the age of 19, he began working as a lifeguard. He was thankful to have the extra money until his boss told him that he also had to coach the summer swim team. At first he was terrified because he did not know anything about swimming long distances, but a girl on the team offered to help him. For the first time, Coach Martinez saw an athlete who was dedicated to her sport and willing to put in many hours training in order to perform well. Her devotion inspired him to study long distance running, and he started reading anything he could find related to endurance, strength, and running fast. Sixty-one years later, Coach Martinez feels like he has a firm understanding of what is required to race well. Over the years, he has kept detailed notes on the workouts he has assigned and each athlete’s performance. He says a knowledgeable coach is responsible for about 40% of a runner’s accomplishments, but the other 60% is determined by the perseverance of the individual. A long distance runner must have such an extreme dedication to the sport, that it can almost be viewed as a fault or obsession. At that point, it is the coach’s job to reign in and fine tune that passion. Coach Martinez meets his athletes at #memorialpark 3-mornings per week. The other 2-mornings they run on the track. He also coaches PE for 2-periods at#LamarHighSchool. When asked if he plans to call it quits any time soon, he says, “Absolutely not!” He has many friends who experienced health problems or were extremely bored after retiring, and he does not want any part of it. Instead, this #octogenarianfinds satisfaction in seeing his boys work hard and improve, even if he is only responsible for 40% of that success! #runhouston #neverretiring#loveshisjob #peopleofmemorialpark