Brenda Martinez’s drive runs deep.
When the 28-year-old Olympian was a young girl training in track and field, she was unable to afford running shoes. Now, she’s competing on the U.S. team in the women’s 1,500-meter race in Rio this August.
“I remember when I was young and my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a new pair of running shoes,” Martinez wrote on Instagram. “The shoes I wore to school were the same shoes I wore to practice. My father would always try to find running shoes on the clearance rack. I’m donating back to the sport that gave me a fighting chance in the world.”
Now with the help of New Balance, her sponsor, she’s giving free shoes to young runners.
Aside from her tenacity, the Olympian also has a heart of gold.
For the past four years, Martinez has hosted an annual summer camp for 10 to 12 female high school runners, she described to FloTrack.
The camp includes daily runs and clinics about confidence, healthy living and positive thinking.
Martinez and Handler cover all expenses, including meals, and even personally pick the girls up when they arrive in couple’s town of Big Bear Lake, California.
Martinez, however, does let her sponsor help out a little bit.
New Balance provides each camper with workout clothes and three pairs of shoes — gear Martinez couldn’t afford as a kid.
“These are the girls that I definitely look up to,” Martinez told New Balance. “If in the middle of a work out I’m having a hard time, my husband will yell, ‘How many little girls do you want to motivate? How many people do you want to help?’ I just dig deep and find a way to finish.”