Track & Cross Country

When Bruce Springsteen wrote one of his most famous songs in 1974, it clearly had nothing to do with someone graced with the ability to move at a faster pace than others on a regular basis. However, it is not a stretch to say that Jeffrey Martinez, who came into this world 17 years after the Springsteen song was released, was truly Born to Run. Although comparisons are possible with other great former Wildcat runners, Jeff’s accomplishment at Johnson City High School, Binghamton University, and as an adult runner just may very well place him atop the all-time list of greatest distance runners in Johnson City history.

Over the course of his athletic career at Johnson City, Jeff earned an incredible 14 varsity letters… four each in cross country and outdoor track and field, five in swimming, and one in indoor track. He made a significant contribution to his Wildcat swim teams by earning All-STAC and All-Division honors in both his junior and senior years and being a 5-time sectional qualifier. However, running was Jeff’s passion, and it was on the track and cross country courses where he blazed a trail that will never be forgotten. A listing of the honors he achieved says it all:

Cross Country: All-STAC and All-Conference four consecutive years (2005 – 2008), All-Section IV, Class B four consecutive years (2005 – 2008), McQuaid Invitational Elite Runner—2008, Section IV, Class B individual champion—2007 and 2008, All-State—2008, four-time NYS qualifier (2005 – 2008)

Indoor Track: Section IV champion in the 3200m—2009

Outdoor Track: All-STAC and All-Division—2007, 2008, 2009, Class B All-Conference—2007 in the 3200m, 2008 in the 1600m and the 3200m, 2009 in the 1600m and 3200m, Section IV champion in the 3200m in both 2008 and 2009, New York State Division 1 and Federation Champion in the 3200m—2009

In addition to these incredible accomplishments, Jeff also set five school records in both indoor and outdoor track. Included among these records was a time of 8:57.60 in the 3200m during the outdoor track season. This incredible time broke a 20 year-old section IV record, and it was the first time in section IV history that a runner finished the 3200m in under nine minutes. Also included in his record-breaking senior season was an incredible feat of only losing one race the whole year after taking part in over 45 races! Finally, it should also be noted that Jeff was recognized as a scholar-athlete in every season of varsity participation throughout his career.

Binghamton University was Jeff’s next stop in his athletic journey, running on a full scholarship for track. It didn’t take him long to begin his record-breaking ways at the college level. Jeff set two school records as a freshman in both the 5,000m and 10,000m in 2010, and he was also crowned the America East Conference champion in the 10,000m that same year. In 2011, Jeff was the 5,000m and 10,000m conference champion. He would go on to be named to the America East All-Conference team 13 times in cross country and track and field. Finally, Jeff continues to dominate races as an adult runner. In January of 2016, he entered the grueling Dopey Challenge at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. In four consecutive days, Jeff ran a 5k (5th place out of 11,000+ runners), a 10K (3rd place out of 11,000+ runner), a half marathon (5th place out of 19,838 runners), and a full marathon (3rd place out of 19,838 runners). Jeff finished 1st overall in this event out of 5,676 runners who completed all four legs of the challenge!

Mr. Pete Tylenda, longtime Johnson City track and cross country coach had this to say about Jeff: "Jeff was the best male distance runner ever to compete for JC, surpassing the achievements of other terrific runners, including those already in the hall of fame." Based on his running résumé, it is understandable how coach Tylenda could make such a bold statement. The Johnson City Athletic Hall of Fame is proud to welcome an athlete who few could catch as a Wildcat or a Bearcat, and whose records and accomplishments clearly prove that he was Born to Run, Mr. Jeffrey Martinez, JCHS Class of 2009.



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