It was a great Sunday morning in Fredericksburg, as eight runners headed to the start line of the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon(MCHH) to run for Team Grassroots. Made up of Grassroot Coaches, current and past, and other Grassroot supporters, Team Grassroots ran a combined 104.8 miles on Sunday morning.
Training and running 13.1 miles was not the only amazing thing Team Grassroots did over the course of the last 10 weeks. They also managed to raise over $3,000 to support our TGP HIV education programs in local, Washington D.C. middle schools. Amongst the runners was former Grassroot Hoya, Paul Kieth and current Grassroot Colonial Samantha Bachert, who finished as the first male and female for Team Grassroots.
“I was so pumped that I could represent Grassroots and fund raise for such an important cause that I have become involved with over my past few years at GW.” said Bachert
Another team member, Nina Martinez, overcame tendinitis in her knee to finish under the four hour mark. Nina contracted HIV from a blood transfusion as a baby. She had never been a runner but decided to join Team Grassroots for this endeavor.
“It was disappointing not to be able to run as I had trained, but I learned a lot from the training despite the “overtraining” injury of moderate tendinitis. I had no idea what to expect trying to conquer 13.1 with an injury on what was already a tough course for runners, so I was still proud to finish even walking. The overwhelming support from Team Grassroots, the Marines, and the city of Fredericksburg made the pain totally worth it.” said Martinez.
While all of Team Grassroots was inspired by Nina’s story, Nina was just as inspired by the work Grassroots does in Washington D.C. “I decided to do this because I learned about HIV from an athlete myself in 1991 (the Magic announcement), so I can really relate to the TGP model for using athletes in HIV prevention education. I only wish we had that curriculum in my elementary and middle schools when I growing up! I also thought it would be a challenge not only for me to run, but also for the athletes on team Grassroots.” said Martinez.
Big thank you to all of our Team Grassroots supporters and a huge shout out to our half marathon runners! Check out the Washington Post Article and MTV Blog on Nina’s journey to running the MCHH. And don’t forget to sign up for our full marathon team or donate to one of our MCM runners!