Local Foundation, The Wendy Martinez Legacy Project, Uses Running to Enact Social Change

By Rachel Levy

On September 18th of 2018, avid runner Wendy Martinez stepped out for an evening run. It was just after solidifying plans with a close friend over text to go wedding dress shopping in the coming week. Wendy’s boyfriend Daniel Hincapie had recently surprised her with a marriage proposal and the promise of a long life together.

Wendy grew up in West Palm Beach, but was born in Nicaragua. She was known widely for her warm heart and community-service focused mindset. That evening, however, while she was finishing a run as a part of her training to qualify for the Boston Marathon, she was the victim of a senseless assault. Sadly, Wendy lost her life just steps from her Washington, D.C. home at the age of just 35.

“Wendy was an aspiring leader who sought to change the world by empowering women through technology, leadership and community service,” Cora Martinez, Wendy’s mother, shared with Atlantic Current. “She was a dedicated and disciplined runner who encouraged everyone she knew to find fulfillment in the sport she loved the most.”

Wendy had received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Florida Atlantic University and held positions on Capitol Hill and The Interamerican Development Bank. She even earned an internship at The Human Rights Office in Bogotá, Columbia to aid marginalized youth. All while working on her master’s degree at Georgetown University. She was driven by the desire to give back. 

“Wendy’s exemplary life inspired us to preserve her legacy and continue giving back to the community in her honor through The Wendy Martinez Legacy Project,” Cora said. “We’ll keep Wendy’s light alive by advocating for runners’ safety and investing in three causes that were near and dear to her heart: women in technology, leadership and community engagement through running.”

The Race

Presently, the Wendy Martinez Legacy Project is going above and beyond. They are staying true to the mission Wendy herself set off on. They provide grants and support causes and organizations that generate social development through the utilization of technology, women’s entrepreneurship and community engagement. 

In the past, the foundation has held races in Singer Island, Washington, D.C. and virtually. Their latest race boasted over 300 participants. On April 29th, they’re hosting the Run for Wendy 10k and 5k in West Palm Beach. They hope to accommodate more than 500 runners. In addition, the Riviera Beach Police Department will also be in attendance. They will be educating the community on self-defense strategies and crisis response tactics for runners and bystanders alike.

For more information about Wendy, the foundation, and the upcoming race, visit www.wendyslegacy.org.

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