OCH Wellness Connection Personal Trainer Corey Martin has competed in adventure races, triathlons, biathlons, 5k and 10k races, obstacle courses and half-marathons, but Monday, Martin will compete in the ultimate race—the Boston Marathon.

“I’ve been running for many years now and love every bit of it. I love the rush, maintaining my healthy lifestyle and setting a good example for all of my fitness clients at work,” said Martin.

Not just anyone can compete in the Boston Marathon. Runners must qualify to participate in the race and Martin has done that not once, but twice! After running the St. Jude Memphis Marathon in 2007, Martin qualified to run in Boston, but a life-changing event occurred that altered her priorities and put her goal of competing on the backburner.

“My mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer three months after I qualified. I had two years to use my qualification time for Boston, but I chose to spend that time with my mom who lived 18 months after she was diagnosed,” explained Martin.

Martin continued to run after the death of her mother, but this time, running became a time to pray and a way to cope with the loss. However, one day while looking through her mom’s things, she found a copy of the book that she had published and given to her mom, Go Mommy Go!. With three children and a full time job, Martin wrote the book to inspire other mothers to be physically active.

“Inside the book that I gave her was a letter my mom had written about how proud she was of me writing a book, being a mother, having a career I love, and that she was thrilled I had qualified for the Boston Marathon,” said Martin. “My mom always loved to hear about my races and events. It was at this moment after finding the letter that I wanted to train hard and qualify for Boston again,” Martin recounted.

And maybe a sign that solidified her decision even more was an envelope she found in a safety deposit box after the death of her stepfather two years ago. On the envelope, Martin’s mother had written, “Corey’s money for Boston Marathon.”

“I never knew that she was saving money for me to go to Boston, and the amount was almost enough to cover my entry fee,” said Martin.

With encouragement from her mother, Martin competed in the Tupelo Marathon on August 31, 2014, and ran at an average 7:54 pace for 26 miles, qualifying her for the Boston Marathon.

“I am so proud of Corey and tickled she’s going to do this. I know her mom would be very proud of her,” said Martin’s husband Andrew Martin. “In a state that leads the country in obesity, it’s awesome she can set an example. Corey has a God-given ability to motivate people. It’s a neat gift she was given,” he continued.

Martin said it’s the support of her husband that has allowed her to get to this point.

“As I’ve become a mother of three wonderful children, I’ve realized that competing in races is not as easy as it used to be! Learning balance in life is a very hard task. My husband thinks I’m nuts at times for training for some of these races but he supports me every step of the way,” said Martin.

Martin will join more than 30,000 people Monday as she runs 26.2 miles, with her husband cheering her on from the sidelines and maybe a little help from her mom.

“After you lose someone, your perspective changes. You realize life is too short to just wait around and wish you could’ve reached one of your goals,” Martin said.

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