Introducing Debbie, Team Love4Gambia Runner

Ladies, gentleman, runners and walkers, the Blue Nose Marathon countdown is almost at 7 weeks!

Here at Team Love4Gambia, we are pleased to continue our series of Runners in Profile, helping you get to know some of the amazing road warriors who are lacing up their sneakers to help kids and communities in The Gambia.

Runners and walkers on Team Love4GambiaWe are proud of our runners and walkers and what to show the world what makes them show up for us.

Up today is long time runner Debbie Martin.  This is Debbie’s second year running for Team Love4Gambia.  In a special twist of event, she’s not running alone this year. Read on!

EP: How long have you been a runner?

Blue Nose Marathon runner Debbie MartinDM: Who said anything about me being a runner? Lately, I’m more of a shuffler – being 6 months pregnant – but no less determined to cross the finish line! In all seriousness, I think I’ve always liked running, but I didn’t train or run consistently until 2004, when I ran my first half–marathon. It was Bluenose Race Weekend! Since then I have ran about half a dozen half marathons and last fall I ran my first full marathon.

EP: How did you become involved with Team Love4Gambia?

DM: Through my good friend and running inspiration, Erin Poirier (incidentally, also pregnant). I ran a half-marathon last year with Team Love4Gambia, raising money for Erin’s big run across The Gambia. I figured if she could set her sights on something so impressive, the least I could do was run and raise money on her behalf. And I’m excited to do it all over again this year, albeit on a smaller, slower scale (I’m signed up for the 10k race this year).

EP: Why is it important to you to run for The Gambia as part of Team Love4Gambia?

DM: I love being part of a Team that has such a grassroots feel. I have never been to The Gambia, but I really feel like every dollar raised is put to good use. Health education and running are two of my passions, so combining the two for such an important cause is a natural fit for me.
EP: You ran the half marathon as part of Team Love4Gambia last year.  Can you share a highlight of your race?
DM: Running that last incline up Sackville Drive towards the finish line. I spotted my fellow Love4Gambia teammates cheering me on with their requisite clappy hands and cow bells and it gave me the last little push I needed to cross the finish line.

EP: What’s been the easiest part of your training this cycle?

DM: The guilt-free afternoon nap that I take after a long run. That’s pretty easy to do.

EP: What’s been the most challenging part of training?

DM: Running while pregnant. Picture your most dreaded up-hill training route. Now cover that route in molasses up to your knees. And run the entire thing. That’s what running while pregnant is like for me. But, like I said, the afternoon nap makes it all worthwhile.

EP: What is your favorite part of running?

DM: Aside from the afternoon nap? Maybe the guilt-free ice cream eating.

EP: Where is the most unusual place you’ve run?
DM: Probably in my Aunt’s basement. I was living in Labrador for a couple of months during one winter, and the weather got too stormy to run outside. So I used my Aunt’s treadmill, which was located in her basement that had 5.5-foot ceilings. I’m not that tall, but when you stand on a treadmill and attempt to run, 5.5 foot ceilings quickly become quite low. So I would have to alternate running while crouched in a sitting position to running while in a bent-over in a hunchback position to avoid banging my head on the ceiling. I did that most days for about six weeks. Good times.

EP: How do you keep motivated?

DM: I have good friends who are way more motivated than me. They push me out the door on days when I would otherwise gladly stay in bed.

EP: What are you most looking forward to on race day?

DM: Finishing! I’m going to be 32 weeks pregnant on race day, so I’m not setting any speed goals (see comment above about running knee-high in molasses). I’m signed up for the 10k run and would love to run the whole thing. But if that’s not in the cards, then I’m happy to do a run/walk combo.

EP: What advice would you give to other pregnant runners to assist them in their training for the Blue Nose Marathon?

DM: Don’t underestimate what your body is capable of. I think we (meaning women in the ‘western’ world) are conditioned to think that we should put our feet up and wait for the pregnancy to be over when it doesn’t have to be that way, and from a health perspective, probably shouldn’t be that way. Our bodies are meant to be active and this is especially so when we’re pregnant. There are lots of pregnant mamas in The Gambia and other parts of the world who are carrying water, harvesting fields, etc. throughout their pregnancies. And I bet they don’t get to enjoy the afternoon nap and ice cream like I do! Running is a privilege. Enjoy your training and your pregnancy, and think of every step as being one step closer to meeting your new little one.

EP: Thanks, Debbie!  We wish you a molasses-free run on race day on a course that feels downhill.  Ok, so the 10km course is definitely not downhill.  Let’s go with molasses-free.  You are a super role model for pregnant women. The human body was indeed born and bred to be active, pregnant or not!

To wish Debbie luck and support, you can donate to here run by clicking here.

To join Debbie and the rest of Team Love4Gambia roster on May 22 weekend, click here and know that we would be honored to have you run or walk with us!

Up next, Blue Nose Team Love4Gambia’s Philip Roson. Stay tuned!

Are you a Team Love4Gambia runner/walker who wants to be profiled?  Please get in touch with me!

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