Athlete Spotlight: Martin Grady

After "choking" at the Illinois State Meet with an eighth place finish in his own words, Fenwick High School senior Martin Grady has done nothing but perform in the post-season as he became part of a select few individuals who qualified for both Nike Cross Nationals and Foot Locker Nationals. Grady gained valuable national race experience last weekend with his 20th place finish at NXN, which he will use in a quick second opportunity to race against the nation's best on Saturday in San Diego for the Foot Locker Nationals.


Interview with Martin Grady

MileSplit US: It has been a remarkable post-season for you after finishing 6th in the Illinois 3A state race to qualify for both NXN and Foot Locker Nationals. Is that a testament of the level of competition you faced in Illinois or that you have taken your running to another level after the state meet?


Martin Grady: Thanks!  Actually, I only took 8th in Illinois, I choked big time.  I think the reason the post-season has gone a little better would be because I don't peak for any meets, I just run consistently 60-70 miles a week, so I don't have the problem of double or triple peaking for meets.


(Photo right by Paul Everett of


MileSplit US:  How did you feel with you race performance out in Portland finishing 20th in the field?


Grady: I was a little disappointed about the place and time, but it really taught me how to approach Foot Locker this Saturday.  Overall, the experience of going to NXN was awesome though, I hung out with so many cool runners.


MileSplit US: It seems like NXN definitely had the better pull of top individuals and had some pretty good depth to go with it, so knowing that do you believe you can much higher individually in San Diego than you did in Portland?


Grady: I haven't taken a good look at the field, but it would be awesome to do some damage out in San Diego.  Anyone can step it up on a given day, and it's hard to know who is going to run well in the post-season.


(Photo left by Alan Aversaw of


MileSplit US: When you entered this season, did you seriously think you had a shot at qualifying for Foot Locker or NXN?


Grady: I think in the beginning of the season I was pretty sure I could qualify.  However, when the season started and I lost a few races, I realized that it would be tough to qualify.  After I qualified for NXN, I was riding on a wave of confidence, and was pretty confident about qualifying for Foot Locker.



MileSplit US: Was there a specific workout or race this season that may have started to make you believe you were on the verge of a special season?


Grady: Definately the Nike Regional was a huge confidence booster.  It was pretty much the first time this season I felt I raced about where I should have been.


(Photo right by Paul Everett of


MileSplit US: What do you think you gained and learned out of competing in a national race this past weekend that you can use to your advantage this upcoming weekend?


Grady: I learned to make sure to keep the leaders within striking distance.  At NXN, I kept telling myself on the first mile to stay conservative, and I didn't worry about the leaders.  Unfortunately, this dragged me through the mile, probably somewhere close to the back running a 4:58.  That's the slowest I have taken a race out the whole year.


MileSplit US: You have stated that you prefer racing in colder weather so does that make you more apprehensive about racing in sunny San Diego after racing in weather you were more accustomed to this past weekend in San Diego?



Grady: Yeah. The weather worries me a little, but everyone has to run in it and all I can do is go all out.  It's going to be a shock coming from Chicago where we had a few inches of snow today, and a huge wind chill.


(Photo left by Matt Shaukus of


MileSplit US:  Outside of the race, what was your favorite part of this past weekend at NXN?


Grady: It was awesome hanging out, running, and eating with all the runners out there.  I spent a lot of time with the Midwest individuals, Loyola, and Neuqeua Valley.  It's cool because although there is a race, everyone's relaxed and having a good time.


MileSplit US: At NXN, you got to meet and probably friend several runners who are doing the same double as you and returning back to the West Coast this weekend as Foot Locker Nationals. How nice will that be to see them again and also make it more comfortable at the meet being around people you just recently met?


Grady: Unfortunately, a lot of runners had to make the decision to go to NXN or FLN, even though they were capable of doing the double.  I know Tyler Bryne from the Midwest is doubling, so we will have a lot of fun, as we race the last 4 races of the season alongside each other.

MileSplit US: What are your goals for Saturday?


Grady: I'm not positive yet, but All-American (top-15) is looking really good right now.