In a live Facebook chat on Wednesday afternoon, J.R. Martinez said that his longest training run for the ING New York City Marathon, less than 10 days away, has been 15.5 miles.
“I’m ready for the race though,” he told his fans, explaining that his doctor has advised him not to over-train and risk getting shin splints as a result of his flat feet. “I love to be ‘in the moment,’ and I’m looking forward to the challenge and the energy of race day.” He said he will be “thrilled” to finish the race anywhere between 4 hours and 4:15.
Martinez—a U.S. Army veteran, actor, motivational speaker, and champion of Dancing With the Stars—will start last in the field of over 47,000 runners, and Timex will donate $1 to New York Road Runners Youth Programs for every runner he passes.
Last year, Olympic gold medalist softball pitcher Jennie Finch raised $30,000 from Timex for NYRR youth programs by passing almost half the field, and Martinez is taking up the challenge to go one better: Or rather, 1,000 better.
“I am super-competitive,” he said. “My goal is to raise $31,000. If I pass you, say hello! You’ll be able to spot me because my shirt says ‘Thanks for the dollar!’”
Fans on the chat were especially curious about how training for the Marathon has compared to competing on Dancing With the Stars, which Martinez won in the show’s 13th season. He said it’s hard to say which is tougher.
“Taping the show was essentially a three-month marathon,” he said. “[But] the show was on once a week, and the ING New York City Marathon is three months’ worth of training for one big show on November 4. I think there’s a little more pressure now!”
Martinez began his motivational speaking career after being severely burned on 34 percent of his body in 2003 while deployed in Iraq. Since then, he has traveled the country spreading his message of resilience and optimism. His book, Full of Heart: My Story of Survival, Strength and Spirit, will be published on October 30.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg