Martinus Evans, founder of the Slow AF Run Club has a new book telling his personal story of becoming a marathoner. Along the way he created a community for “back-of-the-pack” runners to feel welcomed and find encouragement in their running journey. His story has inspired countless individuals who never believed that they could be a runner as well as those who struggled to stay committed. Bob and several members of the RunSignup team were able to meet Martinus at the 2023 Running USA Conference, and were excited to see first hand how he is using his experience to motivate and empower others. Want to be like Martinus? Keep an eye out for more fun Slow AF virtual runs like the Pi Day 5K or the Turkle Trot 5K/10K (both with amazing cover pages!).
Read an excerpt from the first chapter of his book below as he recalls his unforgettable experience of running his first marathon.
“To empower every person on this planet to become a runner in the body they have right now.”
Slow AF Run Club
An Excerpt from Chapter 1
You vs. Your Mind vs. Everybody
Cautionary Tale: Don’t Get on the Bus!
Next to me, the driver cleared his throat to get my attention. Reluctantly I looked up at him. The guy I had been running with was sitting on the passenger side of the vehicle. As soon as we made eye contact, the inner voice I was battling started up again: Stop running and get on the bus. The raspy voice of the driver cut through: “Hey, big man! Do you want a ride back to the finish line like your friend over here?” He pointed his thumb to the passenger side. “Hell no!” I responded jokingly. We both laughed. Inside, I was dying to get on that damn bus. “Well, I’ll be back to come get you on the next go- round.” Then he rolled up his window and pulled off. I instantly stopped smiling and laughing. What the fuck does that mean? The inner voice responded, You should have gotten on the bus. The struggle continued. I felt utterly exhausted. I wanted to run faster, but I, unlike the SAG wagon, had no gas left. As I continued to run, a battle raged inside me, similar to one of those cartoons in which the character has an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. One part of me was saying, You got this; keep moving until you get to the finish line. The other said, Stop running and get on the bus next time it comes by. You aren’t going to make it. Exhausted, sore, delusional, not sure who to listen to, I was caught in the middle, so I trudged forward. When I got to mile 21, I once again heard the engine of the SAG wagon in the distance. I was literally shaking my head as it pulled alongside me again. The driver rolled down the window and cigarette smoke escaped. “Big man, I see that you’re still out here?” I nodded. “Are you ready to get a ride to the finish line?” I shook my head no. He drove off. Mile 24. I was deep in the pain cave. I was determined to stay upright and move forward despite the turmoil I was experiencing. As I moved forward, the SAG vehicle returned. I couldn’t look at it. I braced myself to hear the voice again. “Hey, big man, you’re starting to slow down. Hop in, I’ll take you to the finish line.” I stopped running and looked him straight in the eyes. My heart raced and I was breathing heavily.
“The negative self-talk was still going strong. If you get on the bus, the pain will go away . . . Don’t get on the bus! You’re almost there.”
The Slow AF Run Club
The ultimate guide for anyone who wants to run by Martinus Evans.
My internal battle was still raging. He gestured for me to come closer. “Come on, let’s go.” I walked toward the bus. One foot in front of the other. I was empty. I got all the way to the door, I even touched the handle, and then something stopped me. I shook my head and proceeded to start running again. A guy on a bike pulled alongside me. “Do you know where you are?” “The finish line?!” I responded. He chuckled. “You’re at mile 25; keep going.” About half a mile later, the SAG wagon pulled alongside me, the window already rolled down. At this point my tank was empty and I was riding on fumes. The negative self-talk was still going strong. If you get on the bus, the pain will go away . . . Don’t get on the bus! You’re almost there. “Hey, big man, get in, I’ll give you a ride to the—” I’d had enough. Expending all the mental energy I had left, I cut him off. “Are you serious? I’m almost there! Why would I get in now? Why would you offer such a thing? Leave me the fuck alone!” “I’m just doing my job. I can’t help that you’re fat and slow.” I belted out a single laugh.
“Are you fucking kidding me?” Fuming, I stood there, my jaw clenched, shooting daggers at him. His comment stung, but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction by showing him any weakness. My hands tightened into fists, I swallowed my emotions and held back tears as I looked him dead in the eyes. “Leave me. The Fuck. Alone.” He stared back at me with a blank face. I watched him drive off, breathing heavily. What the fuck was that about? I said to myself, shaking my head while letting out a deep sigh. Emotions were spinning uncontrollably inside of me like a tornado trying to force its way out. Again I swallowed my feelings, took a deep breath, wiped the single tear from my eye, and proceeded to start running again.
Every step hurt more than the last. Yet, every single step was bringing me closer to my goal. The frustration, disbelief, and exhaustion began to fade as the low hum of something more began to build in its place. I made a left turn, and I could see the finish line. I saw Char, then my girlfriend and now my wife, and my mother cheering me on. That building hum turned into a roar that pushed me forward as I gave it everything I had and sprinted across the finish line. I’ve done it! I was a marathoner! I hugged Char and my mother and got my medal. I felt like I could literally do anything. I’ll never forget that moment, and everything that had come before it, not for as long as I live. As we were walking to the car, the SAG wagon slowly passed us. I made eye contact with the driver; he nodded at me with a smirk on his face. I glared at him and nodded back. My eyes followed the SAG wagon until it disappeared into the distance.