Jackson Area Teacher Ran Fastest Marathon Ever By U.S. Born Black Man
Three Rivers Michigan native and Jackson area teacher can claim the title of the fastest U.S. born Black man.
We told you about Nathan Martin and his quest to achieve Olympic dreams nearly two years ago. The substitute teacher and Three Rivers High School alum is described as humble, without selfish ambition, and a man that has overcome many obstacles by those that know him best. While his Olympic dreams were put on hold due to the ongoing pandemic, his drive, and readiness to compete continue.
Just last month, Nathan broke a 41-year-old record while competing at an event in Chandler, Arizona. He ran the fastest marathon ever run by a U.S. born Black man. The record was held for forty years by Herm Atkins who held the distinction of being the fastest native-born black American at the marathon distance of 2:11:52 until December 20, 2020.
To understand why this accomplishment is so significant you have to understand that it is not JUST because he is a Black man it is because he has persevered over many obstacles and remained kind through it all. Nathan lost both of his parents to cancer. His former coach Dante Ottolini said,
We held each other as a team the day he told them as everyone just cried uncontrollably. I remember praying with him before the race where he first tried to qualify for the Olympic trials, Nathan did not ask God to help him but prayed for all the runners. He is not driven by selfish ambition or desire to beat people. He wants to see what his limits are and set an example to inspire his own athletes.
Nathan's former college coach Ottolini says that in 2016 Nathan won and broke a 20-year-old record while competing in his first marathon at the NAIA national meet in college. Dante continues to help Nathan with training.
Nathen is also the Jackson High School cross country coach on top of being a substitute teacher. He shared some wisdom he passed onto his cross country team that has helped him achieve this and so many other accomplishments;
One thing I will tell my athletes when things get hard in a race or even a workout is to "Find a Way". In hopes they don't give in and keep pushing to finish. I also said that saying a lot to myself during the race.