In the last couple of years, our running community has been blessed with the “surprise” arrival of some top men and women runners. On more than one occasion, one of these runners has seemingly appeared from nowhere, won a local race and started the buzz “who is the man (or woman) who won the race and where did he/she come from?” One of those new runners is Martha Blackwell – a relative newcomer to Santa Barbara, a new mom, a new coach and someone who has already made a big contribution to the Santa Barbara sports community.
Martha was a runner in college (University of Oregon) and as evidenced by her PR (post collegiate), she has a great deal of talent. Locally, she has won or had top finishes in a number big races. Although she is now dealing with a hamstring injury, she is still running lots of “smart” miles and looks forward to her return to competition.
Many know of Mom’s In Motion, a local group headed by runner/triathlete and former race director Jamie Allison. A primary focus of Moms In Motion is training its women members to prepare for and compete in the Women’s Sprint Triathlon that is part of the Santa Barbara Triathlon weekend. Jamie heard of Martha’s running talent and her interest in helping other runners, leading to Martha’s position as running coach for Moms In Motion.
Based on comments from the women she coaches, she has been remarkable. She gives running advice, training tips and support to a broad range of women – from one participant who competed in the Olympic trials for the U.S. Triathlon Team to several who have never run or competed. Martha is as excited about her coaching career as the women are about her as a coach.
If you want to see the product of Martha’s efforts and observe a group of athletes truly enjoying the essence of their sport and their joy in competing in a triathlon, stop by the Women’s Sprint Triathlon at East Beach on Sunday, August 24. One of the competitors with the biggest smile will be Coach Martha Blackwell, taking great pride in watching all of her athletes accomplish their goals.
Name Martha Blackwell
Age 28 (2003)
Employment new mom, freelance writer/editor
Family Peter – husband, high-tech venture capitalist who loves to rock climb; Tatym – daughter born April 2002, currently mastering her running and talking skills; Colden – yellow lab, fetches the newspapers and cleans up Tatym’s crumbs.
Other sports, hobbies, etc. I enjoy being outdoors. I love hiking, walking, snowshoeing, swimming, going to the beach. My indoors activities include writing, reading, baking, researching and daydreaming. I’m serving as the Moms In Motion team leader for running this season and look forward to continuing coaching from here forward.
My friends describe me as… relaxed but extremely driven.
My trademark expression is “calm down.”
If money were not a consideration, I would love to… be living the exact life I am right now. However, if talent were not a consideration, I would love to be a professional ballerina.
Goals, in the next 5 years. I hope to continue living a happy life, being the best mother, wife and overall person I can be. I’d also like to become more involved in the local community through volunteering and maybe even starting my own project geared toward youth. I’d also love to have another child.
In the next 10 years. I’d like to still be living the happy life I mentioned above and succeeding in whatever venues I choose to become involved in. I’d also like to start working on the Great American Novel I’ll hope to complete before I die.
Accomplishments. I am really proud of the fact that I am where I am in my life and that I’ve stayed true to the person I know I am. I’m also really proud of my mothering skills, as well as my newly exercised coaching abilities with Moms In Motion.
Favorite Distance and PR (post collegiate) at same: 10K 36:25 [Editor’s note: Martha ran 34:50 in college.]
Best Race and Why Woodminster held in the Oakland hills. I ran it two or three years ago without and clue and swear either I was really out of shape (which I might have been!) or this one massive hill along the cross-country course was the toughest hill ever. That’s my favorite type of race, one that’s a complete surprise and really catches me off guard (except if I’m trying to go fast).
Worst Race and Why: Many, many a collegiate track 10K. Running/racing 25 laps around the track in the rain, wearing nothing more than a bathing suit, counting each lap as it passes (and the other competitors as they passed me) wondering “WHY AM I DOING THIS?”
Average Weekly Mileage (last 12 months): My average has gone from 0, post-baby, to around 40-50.
Favorite Local Race: Having just moved here two years ago and immediately becoming pregnant, I haven’t run too many races. I enjoyed the Orchard to Ocean and the Avocado Run, I also like Nite Moves.
Running Goals (realistic) for this Year: Run a sub-18 5K and a sub-37 10K and to become injury free.
Running Goals (Wildly Optimistic) for this Year: Become injury free! Run 9 Trails, provided I don’t become pregnant beforehand.
Running Goals (Lifetime): Run a 50+ trail race and a sub 2:50 marathon.
Why I Run: Running helps me to clear my mind of the daily nitty-gritty and reach deep-down inside to discover what I’m really thinking about. It also warms my body up for the day and certainly beats swimming!
My Local Runner Hero and Why: Melissa Marsted. She’s an awesome mom and a very good runner at all ranges. I love the way she inspires her sons and is always smiling.
Personal Training Tips: Take at least one day off each week and stretch at night before hopping into bed.
I love runners who enjoy their running.
I don’t care for runners who stress too much. [Editor’s note: The original question read, “I hate runners who…” Typical Martha to change it as she did.] Suggestions for local races: I’d love to race along Mountain Drive some Sunday morning or see more races along the trails.
Suggestions for SBAA: Compilation of Santa Barbara’s “Best Runs” on and off road. Mid-season fundraiser/party.
My views on smokers — yuck!
Quote: Pace yourself and your life; it doesn’t always have to happen right here, right now.
Add anything: Santa Barbara is amazing.