Martin Pasternak Is An OCR Librarian Using His Passions To Bring Change

My guest today is currently training for a pretty big summer challenge in support of a cause that is near and dear to his heart.

Obviously, we will get into the what and the why as we go, along with the various ways to contribute and participate.

I am looking forward to going a few easy miles with Martin Pasternak today!

Martin Pasternak

What If You Die Or Get Hurt?

Martin Pasternak has only started to get active in the last couple of years.

Prior to that he was overweight, smoked, and was rarely physically active.

In the past, he gravitated towards lifting weights rather than doing cardio.

That all changed when he learned about obstacle course races or OCRs.

His first introduction to an OCR was a Bonefrog race.

At the time he was considering signing up his soon-to-be ex-wife asked him a question that stuck with him.

She asked, “What if you die or get hurt?”

Martin realized that he needed to do the race for himself to see if he could do it.

Hooked On The Feeling At The Finish

Martin doesn’t remember much about that first OCR other than the finish.

He was the most physically drained he had ever been, but the feeling of accomplishment was like none he had ever felt.

From that moment on, Martin began dipping his toes into various OCR distances.

His first Spartan race was a sprint distance in 2018.

The Spartan atmosphere averages about 6,000 participants and isn’t lacking in camaraderie.

Martin continues to be inspired by the people he has met and the connections he has made.

He was so inspired that he has since gone on to become a certified spartan coach.

OCR Librarian

Martin is a Librarian by trade and has found a way to merge his job with his hobby.

He works at a school and quickly saw the need for getting kids more active.

Martin came across the program Building Men which is focused on having a positive impact on young men’s development.

He routinely brings a kettlebell to work and enables students to get out some energy while learning proper workout form.

Regardless of whether these students go on to participate in OCR races, Martin is hoping they create healthier habits.

OCR races have taught Martin that if you can’t do something, learn from it and train for it in the future.

That lesson is a valuable one that he hopes to impart to the many students he encounters over the years.

Play To Your Strengths

Martin has learned a lot over the past few years about how to best prepare for an OCR.

It helps to first determine what your strengths are and then you can work on your weaknesses.

For someone newer to OCR, Martin suggests starting with open events.

The open events allow participants to test obstacles and receive tips from coaches.

The Spartan community is more about crossing the finish line and earning it rather than the finish time.

There are still certain obstacles that continue to challenge Martin regardless of how many races he has completed.

Part of the appeal of OCR is that there is always something that will test your limits.

Once he commits to something, he always makes it to the finish.

Marty Pasternak

Pain In The Canal Challenge

Currently, Martin is focused on training for his upcoming challenge which will occur in August of 2021.

Martin plans to run the entire distance of the Erie Canal (Albany to Buffalo New York) which equates to 361.5 miles in just 7 days.

His cousin Kevin Hays is his motivation for doing the challenge.

At just 28 years old, Kevin was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.

The Pain in the Canal Challenge will donate 100% of the proceeds directly to Kevin’s non-profit, the Buffalo Colon Corps.

It’s a virtual challenge with various options available to encourage anyone of any age and ability to join.

Making a Difference

The idea for the challenge began to form when his urge to do an ultra coincided with reading the Running Man by Charlie Engle.

Martin reached out to Charlie and from that moment, the idea for the challenge began to take shape.

Though the challenge doesn’t officially take place until August, the impacts are already being felt far and wide.

Kevin is Martin’s motivation for pushing through when things inevitably get tough.

A few years ago Martin truly can say he had no idea what he was capable of.

He is only beginning to see where his limits lie and how far he can push them.

Mentioned In This Episode:

Stay connected with Martin Pasternak by following him on Instagram and/or Twitter.

Martin Pasternak is the OG OCR librarian. He is preparing for his biggest challenge yet coming up this summer. The journey is all about pushing his limits to raise awareness for a cause close to his heart. Click To Tweet

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6 replies
  1. Holly Briere
    Holly Briere says:

    Great episode!!! As a fellow Syracuse area resident, I really enjoyed Marty’s interview. As a lifelong Oncology nurse, Kevin’s story also hits close. I will absolutely be participating in one of the challenges and will be sure to share with my Upstate Cancer Center colleagues. Best wishes to all!!

    • Denny
      Denny says:

      Glad you enjoyed this one Holly, and I appreciate you sharing the episode with your colleagues. Looking forward to “running the canal” with you this summer!


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