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Aaron Martens: Angler, Marathoner

During Major League Fishing’s August filming at Chautauqua Lake in Western New York, a ritual took place each evening as the sun was setting. A lone runner would pass Major League Fishing’s lakeside studio set, pacing himself at a steady clip. He would glance over at the set and wave enthusiastically if anyone noticed that he was running by.

That lone runner was angler Aaron Martens, and he was training for the Philadelphia Marathon that would take place less than two months after completion of the Chautauqua event. Martens ran every day, anywhere from five to 12 miles. Even after spending all day fishing competitively or filming production work, the early evening hours still meant one thing – a training run.

Martens, a six-time B.A.S.S. winner with 55 Top Ten finishes, began running in 2011 and began serious marathon training this past summer.

In the beginning, he took what he considered a long run one day – the object was to see how far he could go. His run was 3.5 miles - not bad but not exactly marathon material. “That’s the best I could do. It was slow, and I couldn't go a step farther,” he said.

But soon the distances increased and the pace was faster. By August of this year, the marathon training was on schedule. Martens had a brief setback in late October, a bout of walking pneumonia that coincided with Major League Fishing’s second fall filming, at Lake Istokpoga in Florida. But after the brief illness knocked him down for the better part of two weeks, he recovered and competed in Philadelphia.

Martens finished the Philadelphia Marathon in 3 hours, 56 minutes, a roughly nine-minute-per-mile pace over a hilly 26.2-mile course.

In this writing, Martens talks about his training and how he believes it will help his already stellar fishing career.


I chose to run a marathon because it’s an extension of the kind of training I was doing to stay in shape. I think running is the Number One way to be fit, especially if you do it right. If you stretch and eat healthy foods, then you run, your body will get close to total fitness. Running gets to the core parts of your body. You work as many muscle groups as you can, and you develop your full body.

I used to ride a bike a lot. When I lived in California, I would go on long bike rides. I was actually kind of eaten up with mountain biking. There were dirt roads everywhere. You could ride forever where I lived. But I just can’t do that kind of riding now, so I decided to start running. I’m in the best shape of my life right now. I think I’ll probably do this for a long time; I can’t imagine not running.

Before my training for the marathon ended, I was running about 40 miles a week. My longest run was 20 and a half miles.

I started running because I had gotten to the age where I had to start doing something again to stay in shape. When you get to be 40, things are just different. I found that I was doing most of the same things I had always done, but I was gaining about a pound every month. That starts to add up. So I started running in July of last year. I kept running through all of this year, and then I started seriously training for the marathon.

At first, I was really slow. The first six months were tough. I had sore muscles, and I was always in danger of hurting something. I would get really tired. But after a while, you don’t get the miserable feeling anymore and it gets better.

About two months before the marathon I got sick. I had walking pneumonia and it took me out for a little while. So I had to train harder than you’re supposed to the last few weeks. In fact, the week before the marathon I had one of the hardest weeks I’ve ever had, and you’re not really supposed to do that.

But in the end, I made it. The marathon was great. There were something like 33,000 people in it. It was bigger than it was supposed to be because a lot of the people that were going to run in the New York Marathon decided after it was cancelled to do the one in Philadelphia.

It was great, but I have to admit it was really hard. There were times when I wondered if I was going to make it. In fact, there was a half-marathon going on at the same time, and at one point we were near that finish line. I was tempted to break off and go straight to the half-marathon finish.

The last six miles are a whole different race. No matter who you are or how much you’ve trained, the last six miles will test your mental strength.

People have asked me if this helps my fishing, and I think it has. My metabolism is up and I have more energy. And, I actually feel a lot more comfortable standing in the front of the boat, which we have to do all day.

I’ve noticed that where I used to move kind of slow sometimes when I had to move around in the boat, I’m not doing that anymore. I kind of spring from the front to the back, just because I feel stronger.

You’d think there would be more anglers that run, but there just aren’t many. Some guys run some to stay in shape or they run as part of other training, but none of the other guys are actual runners. I’ve been talking to a few guys, like Chris Lane and Randy Howell and Brent Chapman. It would be nice if I could get them to start.

It’s hard to work into your schedule, though. When you’re fishing tournaments, or even when you’re pre-fishing the way I’ve been doing to get ready for the Classic, a lot of days there’s just no way to train. So I have to wait.
But my intention is to run one marathon a year. I hope I can do that.




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