WESTPORT, Conn. – Westport’s Alan Martin has unfinished business in the ING New York City Marathon. On Sunday, he’ll get a chance to complete his work. And he believes the Fairfield County running community will have played a big part in it.
Martin tore his Achilles tendon training for the race in the mid-1990s. On Sunday, he hopes to finally complete his first marathon as he runs for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. Readers can support Martin through his fundraising page.
“Having spent most of my life in this area, it’s the race that I wanted to do,’’ he said. “Up to a year ago, I never thought I’d try to run it. Once I started to build up and get stronger, I definitely felt I could do it.”
Martin, 43, was active on the local running circuit in the late 1990s but gave it up in 2001. “Work was busy at the time, and when I stopped running I wasn’t feeling that well,’’ he said. “That knocked me out, and I didn’t pick it back up.”
His running layoff lasted 10 years. “It was mostly for my physical and mental well-being,’’ Martin said. He started slowly last year, then joined the Waveny Running Club in New Canaan, the Pequot Runners of Southport and the Jogger’s Club in Westport.
He jumped into competition this year with both feet, running nine of the 10 races in the Westport Summer Series and also traveling to New York, Cape Cod and Washington for races. He also ran local races in Greenwich and New Canaan. The camaraderie of the running community played a key role in helping Martin get back on track.
“None of my accomplishments this past year would have remotely been possible without the inspiration and motivation I was able to draw from the many friends I made through running,’’ he said. “I was most fortunate to meet and run with so many incredible people this past year. Many I met through running groups and others I met at local races. Fairfield County really has an incredible running community and the camaraderie both on the track and on the road is beyond measure. Beyond running, many have been become close and valued friends.”
Martin met New Canaan’s Alicia O’Neill, the foundation’s director of endurance events and race programs, through the Waveny group.
“I think running the New York marathon for an important cause such as MMRF will greatly enhance the experience,’’ he said. “Although my personal goals are still important, they are certainly superseded by the challenges faced by multiple myeloma patients and their families and the challenges facing researchers and doctors who are in pursuit of new treatments.”
Martin is now ready to make his long-awaited journey from Staten Island to Central Park.
“I hadn’t given it a lot of thought until this last Sunday,’’ he said of crossing the finish line. “Now I have a mental picture of what it’s like. It’s all kind of surreal. It’s definitely going to be an emotional experience.”