Brenda Martinez

Birthday: 09/08/87 Mile PR: 4:18.4 (road) - 2017
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 4:00.94 - 2013
High School: Rancho Cucamonga HS '05
Hometown: Rancho Cucamonga, CA
College: UC Riverside '10
Current Residence: Big Bear, CA

Brenda Martinez is expecting her first child in 2023 with her husband Carlos Handler, and Socorro “Coco” Belen Handler was born on February 28, 2023.

Since 2016, she has raced infrequently and has had a series of injuries. In 2017, Martinez finished 4th at the 5th Avenue Mile, setting a personal best of 4:18.4, and runner-up at the Long Island Mile (4:28.96).

In 2016, she finished third at the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in 4:06.16, diving at the line to earn her first Olympic team berth, and also in 2016, she won the USA Indoor 1500 meter title (her first), clocking 4:08.37 in Portland. OR.

At the 2013 IAAF World Championships at 800 meters in Moscow, Brenda earned the silver medal and a personal record 1:57.91 as the first American female to medal at outdoor WC's 800. At the inaugural IAAF World Relays 2014 hosted by the Bahamas in late May, she anchored the women's 4x800 to a gold medal and U.S. record (8:01.58) and also was a member of the 4x1500 silver medal team.

In 2013, she won the 2013 B.A.A. Invitational Mile in 4:51.4 on the streets of downtown Boston the day before the storied Boston Marathon. She was also a member of the U.S. record setting 4x800m team at the 2013 Penn Relays; the team collectively smashed the old mark by 13 seconds with their 8:04.31.

In 2012, Brenda was the USA Indoor Championships 1500 meter runner-up in addition to winning the U.S. Open Mile indoors at Madison Square Garden. She also won titles at the 5th Avenue Mile (4:24.2 road PR) and the Falmouth Mile (4:26.76, fastest female Miler in 2012 on the track).

At the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships, she was the 1500 meter runner-up.

The 3-time NCAA All-American for UC Riverside works with legendary coach Joe Vigil.

FUN FACT: In the summer, Martinez gives back "in abundance" and hosts a running camp for local girls at Big Bear Lake, California.



A rerun of Brenda Martinez’s spectacular track career

November 15, 2020

UC Riverside star was the first American woman to win 800 meter medal at the outdoor World Championships

By Kevin Contreras, The Highlander

Brenda Martinez was one of UC Riverside’s most prominent and outstanding athletes in its track & field history. Martinez graduated from UCR with a...

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Top Fields Set for 2018 USATF 1 Mile Road Championships at Grand Blue Mile

April 12, 2018

Katie Mackey to defend women’s national title; $25,000 guaranteed national championship purse with $5000 for each national champion; also the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix #Tour2018 season opener

From Grand Blue Mile

DES MOINES, Iowa - Grand Blue Mile race officials have announced the fields...

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NYRR Wanamaker Mile Draws Top International Field

January 09, 2018

Two past race champions and 11 Olympians expected at the Armory's New Balance Track & Field Center on Saturday, February 3


NEW YORK — Two-time Olympic medalist Nick Willis will race for his first title in six attempts against defending event champion Eric Jenkins in the men’s field,...

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Top Tips from Brenda Martinez

September 17, 2017

"That feeling of not feeling sorry for yourself is something they’ve instilled in me from a young age."


Brenda Martinez is speedy on the track, but drives 'like an old lady'. The USA middle distance star and 2016 Rio Olympian shares some of her best bits of advice for on and off the...

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Brenda Martinez giving back in abundance

April 05, 2017

For the fifth year, the 2016 Olympian aims to inspire high school runners at a summer camp she hosts in Big Bear, California: “I appreciate my life more because of them.”

By Heather Mayer Irvine, Runner's World

It was a phone call with her famed coach, Joe Vigil, that sparked the idea....

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Resilience personified: Rio Olympian Brenda Martinez

November 23, 2016

Coach Vigil bases a lot of his training off Sebastian Coe’s training. Back in the day, Coach Vigil didn’t know much about the Mile, so he went to the UK to learn about the Mile.

By Runner's Tribe

Runner’s Tribe recently caught up with 2016 Rio Olympian, 2013 World Championships 800m bronze...

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Rancho Cucamonga celebrates Rio Olympian Brenda Martinez

October 22, 2016

“You are a shining example of what our community represents; you — and your parents — are to be commended for your contributions and reaching for your dreams.”

By Liset Márquez, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

RANCHO CUCAMONGA -- Olympic athlete Brenda Martinez is often asked one question when...

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Brenda Martinez driven to be a role model

August 04, 2016

"There’s more to life than just running. I’m starting to realize that more as I get older. Kids are looking up to me."

By Allan Steele, The Press Enterprise

The Brenda Martinez story is bigger than Brenda Martinez.

The 28-year-old former Rancho Cucamonga High and UC Riverside track star is...

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With Husband’s Support, Brenda Martinez Takes Olympic Road Less Traveled

July 26, 2016

"Ever since then we reached out to Dr. Vigil, and him just giving us a hand, we didn't take it for granted, and it just changed everything in how we view things."

By Jonathan Crowl,

You call Carlos Handler in the middle of the afternoon. He's happy to talk -- but he and his...

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Exciting 1500 meter races close out U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials

July 11, 2016

Women's 1500m top 3 strongest in U.S. Olympic team history; Blankenship, Andrews and Martinez celebrate first Olympic berths; Centrowitz breaks Steve Scott's Olympic Trials meet record.

By Chris Chavez, Sports Illustrated

Less than half a second separated the third and fourth place finishers...

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Martinez puts 800 crash behind her, turns focus to 1500 at U.S. Olympic Trials

July 06, 2016

“I’m not putting the blame on anyone. That’s how track is. We move on... I’m ready to bounce back.”

By Scott M. Reid, Orange County Register

EUGENE, Ore. – By the time Brenda Martinez sat down alone with a turkey sandwich and her four dogs Monday night in the house she and her husband/coach...

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Brenda Martinez’s USATF Indoor Championships title made all the sweeter after career’s rocky star

March 14, 2016

Martinez's first national title win in 4:08.37 was a breakthrough moment, a victory that validated her sacrifices to start her pro career and broke the spell of second place that stuck with her career since the 2009 NCAA championships.

By Andrew Greif, The Oregonian

The prevailing sentiment...

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Martinez Unafraid to ‘Go After It’

June 19, 2014

"Going after it” means taking risks, accepting the possibility of failure to see how great a success is possible.

By Parker Morse,

The 2013 season, in which she won bronze at 800m at the IAAF World Championships, made Brenda Martinez the most successful U.S. woman at that distance in...

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Brenda Martinez’s Solo Act

December 03, 2013

2013 World Championships 800m bronze medalist and sub-4:25 Miler discusses post-collegiate career and working with legendary coach Joe Vigil

By Erin Strout for Running Times

A royal blue velvet box sits unassumingly on the coffee table. It's about the size of a postcard, and it's no different...

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Brenda Martinez takes the world’s fastest interview

October 21, 2013

Mile legend Seb Coe would be one of her three perfect dinner guests

By SPIKES Magazine

Under the intense pressure of SPIKES’ super quick interview, we find out that the USA’s world 800m bronze medallist Brenda Martinez loves Amy Winehouse; could have been a police officer; and really fancies...

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Martinez giving back to running community

October 13, 2013

2013 World 800m bronze medalist signs autographs, poses for photos and hands out awards at Inland Empire Challenge cross country meet

By Allan Steele, PE Bloggers

DEVORE, Calif. — Brenda Martinez didn’t need her track shoes for a workout on Saturday. Instead, her workout consisted of signing...

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Martinez’s rise, shining season

September 25, 2013

2013 will forever be the year that Martinez’ potential blossomed into track and field prominence.

By Kathy Portie, Big Bear Grizzly

Brenda Martinez was tired. The Big Bear resident, fresh off a bronze medal finish at the World Track & Field Championships, decided to call it a season and take...

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A life spent running: Brenda Martinez

September 21, 2013

"Athletics saved my life.”; "I belong here and know I can run with these girls."

By SPIKES Magazine

If you wanted to create a textbook to give to parents about why their kids should take up athletics, then pay attention to the story of Brenda Martinez.

From “humble beginnings” in the...

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Inspiring Latina of the Week: Runner Brenda Martinez

September 13, 2013

I just thought "I have to bleed for coach [Joe Vigil]. Just give it everything you have to the line, just don’t give up."

By Connie Aitcheson, Latina

At the recent IAAF Track & Field World Championships in Moscow, Mexican-American Brenda Martinez became the first American woman to win a medal...

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Brenda Martinez gets historic 800 bronze at World Championships

August 18, 2013

U.S. women finish third, fourth and sixth in 800 meter final in Moscow

By Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times

Brenda Martinez of Rancho Cucamonga on Sunday became the first American woman to win a medal in the 800 at the outdoor World Track & Field Championships, using a late kick to finish...

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A middle-distance relationship

August 14, 2013

Brenda Martinez has been coached by phone or email to become one of the best in the world in 800. Now she has a chance to win the first World Championship medal for a U.S. woman in the event.

By Helene Elliott, Los Angeles Times

Brenda Martinez wasn't ready to give up her running career after...

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Simpson Earns First Diamond League Victory of Her Career – Wins Monaco 1500

July 19, 2013

Americans take 4 of the top 5 spots; 2013 USA 1500 champion Treniere Moser struggles and finishes last


MONACO – Reigning world champion Jenny Simpson of the U.S., who last year finished dead last in her semifinal heat of the Olympics, is officially back. She’s not just back,...

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Brenda Martinez Getting on the Right Track

June 20, 2013

Former UC Riverside star who will compete at the USA Championships is blossoming into a force as a professional; working with renowned coach Joe Vigil

By Michelle Gardner, San Bernardino Sun

Brenda Martinez admits she was overwhelmed at all the decisions she had to make coming out of UC...

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Brenda Martinez to Host Big Bear Altitude Training Camp

May 17, 2013

Five Riverside and San Bernardino County girls to be part of inaugural camp June 28-30 hosted by top U.S. Miler; "giving back in abundance"

On June 28-30 in Big Bear Lake, California, top U.S. Miler Brenda Martinez (right, PhotoRun) will host a high school girls altitude training camp. Last...

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5 Questions with Brenda Martinez

April 24, 2013

By Pat Price, Daily Relay

Welcome back to 5 Questions, where we will pick the brains of people from all areas of the running scene. Today, we were lucky enough to catch up with Brenda Martinez. Follow Brenda on Twitter @bmartrun and check out her website for more information on her whereabouts...

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Former UCR Standout Sets Mt. SAC Record

April 19, 2013

By Allan Steele, The Press-Enterprise

WALNUT, Calif. — Anyone who doubted former UC Riverside All-American Brenda Martinez is starting to feel comfortable as a professional runner hasn’t been paying attention.

Martinez set a personal best and a meet record at the storied Mt. SAC Relays on...

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Willis, Martinez Kick to B.A.A. Invitational Mile Wins

April 14, 2013

By David Monti, Race Results Weekly

BOSTON – (April 14, 2013) – A chilly wind blew through Back Bay here this morning, but did little to deter Nick Willis and Brenda Martinez from winning their first B.A.A. Invitational Miles with powerful kick finishes. Their times were modest, 4:03.3 and...

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Centrowitz, Martinez Cap Year with Fifth Avenue Mile Titles

September 22, 2012

At 32nd edition, more than 5,400 finishers in age group heats race the iconic distance down the famed thoroughfare
By Jim Gerweck, The Mile wire

NEW YORK – (September 22, 2012) – For years, Bernard Lagat has dominated Mile races on the indoor track of New York City, his eight consecutive...

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Torrence, Martinez Win Falmouth Mile

August 11, 2012

Martinez and Anderson run #1 and #2 fastest women’s Mile times of the year
Jim Gerweck, The Mile wire

FALMOUTH, Mass. – (August 11, 2012) – Last year’s Falmouth Mile, a track precursor to the larger, older 7-mile road race, proved to be one of the deepest ever run on American soil, with the...

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4 Minutes with a Miler: Brenda Martinez

May 31, 2012

Bring Back the Mile’s podcast series, 4 Minutes with a Miler, sits down with 2012 U.S. Open Mile Champion and 4:32.29 Miler, Brenda Martinez, coached by the legendary Joe Vigil. A UC Riverside grad, Martinez is a three-time NCAA All-American. The interview is hosted by Duncan Larkin with the...

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