Chris Martin is a relative newcomer to the South Jersey track scene.
He didn’t move to the area until after his sophomore year, and the senior distance runner for Northern Burlington High School really hasn’t been on the track very much since because of injuries.
“I have been more injured than injury-free thoughout my high school career,” he said.
However, Martin is healthy now. And in Saturday’s Burlington County Open, he won the 3,200 meters 9:32.47.
“It has been a battle, but I think I’m stronger for it,” Martin said about his injuries. “I know how to listen to my body. Overall, it’s not fun to be injured, but I’ve been doing very well considering all I had to go through.”
Martin has endured a series of ailments to both feet, including breaking the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot during cross country this year.
“I think it’s from wear and tear, and kind of overworking my body and pushing through pain and just kind of doing that,” Martin said. “So I’ve been trying to really listen to my body and make sure I have good running shoes and good warmups and good stretches after running to prevent anything else.”
Martin is feeling stronger now, so much that shortly after winning the 3,200, he ran the 800 in the Burlco Open just for speed training.
“It was kind of the plan, to run the two-mile and then come back in the 800,” Martin said. “It wasn’t as fast as I wanted, but I was pretty tired. I was pretty content with my performance.”
He finished 10th in the 800 against a fleet field with a solid 2:04.18 on the Maple Shade track.
“It was really great to get out there with some really great competition and run a season best,” Martin said about the 3,200 time. “But I definitely want to improve that at sectionals.”
Martin will run the 1,600 and 3,200 in the Central Jersey Group 3 sectionals on his home track this weekend.
“I won’t have to travel that far and it is really neat to have everyone come there and have the crowd as well,” Martin said.
Martin moved to South Jersey from Illinois prior to his junior year. His father is in the Air Force and stationed at McGuire Air Force Base.
But the injuries he suffered in Illinois followed him here, too.
“Unfortunately, at the end of my sophomore year, I had an injury and managed to finish out the season and did very well, but had to rest the summer,” Martin said.
Martin’s personal best in the 3,200 is 9:24 as a sophomore.
“My best last year was a 9:28 and I’m trying to lower it a lot more,” Martin said about his outdoor time at the state championship meet.
His PR in the 1,600 is 4:17.34 last year, placing second at the South Jersey Open behind Oakcrest’s Ishmael Muhammad, who now runs for Villanova. He ran a 4:18.62 in the 1,600 as a sophomore to win the Illinois state title.
Martin will attend Texas A&M in the fall.
“It is a little complicated. As of right now, I am not on a track scholarship,” Martin said. “I was talking to the Texas A&M coach throughout cross country season and he was saying to just keep improving my times but then I got injured.
“I was in a boot for about a month and that kind of set me back, but I was still in contact with the coach and he said he would keep me as interested because they have a very talented track team.
“My plan is to go to Texas A&M and work my way up and try to walk on the track team. It would be such a neat experience to keep doing this in college.”
If Martin lowers his times at sectionals and states, he could help his cause for a scholarship.
“All these times right now are very important in the whole college process.”
In college, he plans to major in bio-medical engineering.
“I want to go the pre-med route; I want to work with people,” Martin said. “I’ve been open to a lot through injuries.”
Kevin Callahan; (856) 486-2424; firstname.lastname@example.org