Team UI Runner Profile: Meet Loren!

14 Team Urban Initiatives runners have been training hard since this past Spring for the 2016 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We are excited to introduce you all the members of Team UI and learn a little about why they signed up to run 26.2 for thousands of UI kids across Chicago.

Who are you? Where are you from?

My name is Loren Martell. I am an 8th grade math teacher from Schaumburg, Illinois.

What is your favorite tune to listen to while running?

Currently my favorite running song is Go! by M83.

How did you get involved with Urban Initiatives?

When I taught for CPS, Urban Initiatives one of the largest after school programs that we had. So many students wanted to participate and they needed extra coaches. I saw and heard from other teachers what an impact the organization had on these children  both inside and outside of the classroom.

What has motivated you to run a marathon in general and what has motivated you to run for Urban Initiatives?

  • The day after graduating college, I got my first teaching job working for the Chicago Public School system. I was hired to teach 8th grade Math at Marquette Elementary School, located on the southwest side of Chicago. Academy for Urban School Leadership (AUSL) would be taking over Marquette as one of their turnaround schools in June, meaning the school would be shut down, and all the staff let go, due to several years of underperforming on state mandated tests.  Alongside a group of first year teachers with a fresh mindset, equipped with a summer of intensive training and planning, we re-opened the school as Marquette School of Excellence in August of 2012.
  • As a first year teacher, I walked into school thinking I could make a difference; my ambition and enthusiasm would change the lives of the children in my class.  The reality was, the neighborhood that my children were growing up in, hadn’t changed. Gangs ruled the streets outside the school, recruiting kids as young as ten. For most, being a member in a gang gave them a sense of purpose and belonging that they had never felt before.  In 2014 two of my students, who had graduated the year before, were murdered, both the cause of gang violence.
  • Last October I ran my first Chicago Marathon. As great as it was to finish the race for myself, I knew that if I ran it again I wanted to do it for a greater cause. . I’ve seen first hand the lasting impact Urban Initiatives has had in the lives of these children, helping them to find a sense of belonging in a positive affirming environment opposed to the gangs on their street corners.

What are some training challenges you’ve faced so far?

Chafing! It really is THE WORST.  I use body glide, but after 10 miles it always seems to wear off and my running clothes become my worst enemy!

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