Runner Brenda Martinez will toe the line in Rio to represent the U.S. in the 1,500m race. She’s a sponsored star now with her eyes on an Olympic medal, but growing up, she couldn’t afford a pair of running shoes.

The 28-year-old from Rancho Cucamonga, California posted this on Instagram:

“I remember when I was young and my parents couldn’t afford to buy me a new pair of running shoes. The shoes I wore to school were the same shoes I wore to practice. My father would always try to find running shoes on the clearance rack. I’m donating back to the sport that gave me a fighting chance in the world.”

Keeping in mind where she started, Martinez goes the extra mile to help others who are in the same unfortunate position she was in as a child. That’s why with the help of her sponsor, New Balance, she donates shoes to young runners.
She also hosts a no-cost running camp for 10-12 high school girls every summer in Big Bear Lake, Calif. Aside from running, the hot topics of conversation and seminars include self-esteem, positive self-talk, and healthy living.

She’s already putting forth a gold medal performance off the track. So, there’s no question, she’s one to root for in Rio.