Brenda Martinez Turns Rejection Into a Chance to Give Back // Competitor

Brenda Martinez was in sixth place when she rounded the bend into the homestretch of the 800-meter final at the 2013 IAAF World Championships in Moscow. The crowd was roaring. A space opened up in lane one, Martinez dug deep and crossed the line in third place—the first American woman to ever medal in the event.

Three years earlier, when Martinez graduated from college at UC-Riverside, two Olympic developmental track clubs rejected her even though she was an NCAA runner-up and a three-time All-American who set numerous school records. Martinez went from rejection to a bronze medal, and now she and her husband, Carlos Handler, are recruiting post-collegiate athletes to join their newly developed Big Bear Track Club.

“Now that we have the resources, we want to develop athletes,” Handler said. “We don’t want someone talented like Brenda to slip through the cracks—so we started our own little group.”

This story was first published at Competitor, which was sold and is now Podium Runner. Read the story here.

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