Cynthia Martinez

Ali on the Run Show Episode 361: Cynthia Martinez, Filmmaker & Journalist

“It’s hard for me to be back here in a lot of ways. Because it sometimes brings me back to being that little Cynthia, and feeling like my voice doesn’t matter because of the color of my skin or my hair. Like people don’t care about what I have to say. And that’s why this film is so important to me. I want these kids to be heard. I want them to know that they do matter.”

Cynthia Martinez is a 12-time marathoner and four-time Boston Marathon qualifier who has run races on four continents, completed 16 international races, and won races in Thailand and Dubai. She’s a mom, a journalist (she earned her Master’s degree from Columbia), and a filmmaker. And right now, Cynthia is producing a film inspired by her own life experiences and her pursuit of higher education. First Voice Generation follows six first-generation Latinx college students, and documents how they are overcoming the challenges of a global pandemic while pursuing their own collegiate careers. On this episode, Cynthia reflects (powerfully; have tissues nearby) on her own childhood as the granddaughter of Mexican migrant farm workers and hard-working parents who worked multiple jobs, and talks about the struggles her family faced. She talks about abuse and alcoholism in her home growing up, and talks about how she is rebuilding her relationships with her parents now, as a mother herself. She talks about the jobs that led her to becoming a filmmaker — including nannying for the 1% in New York City and working at Univision — and explains the role running has played along the way.

(Want to support First Voice Generation? Check out the film’s Kickstarter here.)

SPONSOR: AfterShokz — Visit for 15% off wireless headphones.

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • All about First Voice Generation (4:27)
  • Cynthia reflects on her own childhood (12:00)
  • How Cynthia found running (20:00)
  • Why Cynthia is a fan of only running three days a week during marathon training (23:00)
  • Cynthia talks about her running travels (31:45)
  • Cynthia’s road to becoming a mother, and her postpartum experience (35:00)
  • Cynthia’s career evolution, and how she became a filmmaker (51:30)
  • How to support First Voice Generation (59:35)

What we mention on this episode:

First Voice Generation on Instagram @firstvoicegeneration

First Voice Generation Kickstarter

Upward Bound

Chris Heuisler on Episode 265 of the Ali on the Run Show

Kate Pallardy on Instagram @katepallardy

Lynn McGrew on Episode 339 of the Ali on the Run Show

Follow Cynthia:

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Listen & Subscribe:

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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