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Martín López: Back From The Brink

On 26th September 2020, Martín López arrived in intensive care after falling seriously ill with COVID-19.

Fast forward 18 months, Martín is now an accomplished ultra-runner with over 2150 miles under his belt and a renewed, invigorated outlook on life.

Delve into Martín’s journey below, and watch the exclusive short film on our YouTube channel here. Alternatively, watch the YouTube video by scrolling to the bottom of the article.

It’s Friday 26th September, just after 2am in the morning. I’ve arrived in intensive care against my will.

I have a mask on my face with maximum oxygen being forced into my lungs – and needles and drips hanging from each arm for drugs and bloods. I didn’t know what to expect from intensive care but the amount of tech in there was pretty impressive, then you realise that it’s all there to keep you alive, and it all gets a bit scary.

I was relatively healthy a week earlier. I’ve always enjoyed sport, even though probably a little overweight but fit enough to (just!) keep up with my lads, Jersey (15) & Santi (seven). Then, just like that, COVID.

At first it was just flu symptoms but it quickly developed into something worse and a blood clot on my lungs is what got me into intensive care and very close to, well, you know.

I made a pledge to myself that when I got out, I would make some changes to ensure that I could be as healthy and strong for as long as possible. It started a few days after being discharged from hospital with a couple of walks – I noticed the improvement in how much ground I could cover from day to day; first a few hundred metres, then a kilometre, a mile, five kilometres. Each day the boundaries got pushed further and further. Within two weeks I was back in my office at Invictus Education Trust, and everything was back to ‘normal’. But I wanted to do something with this momentum.

On the 30th December, 2020, I went out for my first run as a ‘runner’ with the only goal of completing a marathon in under four hours at some point in 2021. I ran a lot in January and February and completed my first ever marathon distance in March. To say I got the bug is an understatement, I had never felt so healthy, in body or mind, and just wanted to keep on pushing new limits.

I signed up for an Ultra Marathon in August 2021, the Salisbury Plains 50 Miles, almost a double marathon. I finished 6th place in a time of 8 hours 20 and I’ve since completed a number of ultra-distance events, clocking a total of 3518km (2185 miles) in the process.

In July 2022, I have the big one – the Beacons Way 100, a 100-mile traverse across the Brecon Beacons mountain range. I used to say that it was the ‘end goal’ but I already know it isn’t. What I’ve learnt is not to bother setting boundaries or limits, just explore each opportunity with energy and enthusiasm and everything else follows.

The running community, online and in person, has been extraordinary. There are so many amazing people on their own journeys, and I have been inspired by many. I do hope that a part of my story might inspire you to seek and seize your own opportunities, whatever they might be. Have fun.

MJ Lopez | Visit Instagram Profile


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