Who Runs The World

Two-For-One Broods This Month – Under the Scope
April 2, 2024
Seek support at this upcoming, free Opioid Survivors and Resource Event
April 2, 2024
Two-For-One Broods This Month – Under the Scope
April 2, 2024
Seek support at this upcoming, free Opioid Survivors and Resource Event
April 2, 2024

For Chequita Gretna Martin, adventure isn’t a choice– it’s a lifestyle! The local Terrebonne Parish school teacher and dedicated world traveler is well on her way to her goal to run a marathon on every continent, including Antarctica. Chequita is already a certified World Marathon Major Runner and has been to countless countries across the world, and won’t be stopping anytime soon.

Chequita originally was born in Suriname, a small country on the North Atlantic coast of South America, and describes her fearless attitude as being prevalent long before she began her journey as a marathon runner. “I moved from Suriname to the United States in 1982 when I was in my early 20’s, because there was a military coup in my country,” explained Chequita. “I decided that it was time to move on because I didn’t want to be held back. I’m very freedomoriented and very outspoken– so I told my parents I was going to the United States and I wasn’t going to return to Suriname. They were skeptical, but I knew it was the right decision for me.”

Chequita then moved to south Louisiana to begin her new life, eventually enrolling in college and obtaining her four year bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Nicholls State University, before beginning her 27-year career as a teacher at South Terrebonne High School. Chequita is also married with two sons and two grandchildren, and fluently speaks an impressive five languages (Dutch, Surinamese, Afrikkans, Spanish, and English). Chequita successfully built a rich and stable life in her new home, but her adventurous personality and love of travel stayed strong–particularly after developing a new hobby while in Louisiana.


“I have always been a fast and avid walker, and I walked several 30 minute 5k’s in the area. But I got bored with walking quickly,” chuckled Chequita. “I decided to join a running club called Solemates here in Houma, but I told the group leaders I would never, ever run– I was a walker. As I kept going, I started to get really close with the group, and in 2017 they told me they were going to run a marathon in Mississippi. I went with them, and despite saying I would never run, I ran the marathon.” This was Chequita’s first marathon, which she ran with no training beyond walking. “It was so difficult, I got to mile 22 and I thought I wouldn’t make it,” she said. “But I said to myself, anything I start, I have to finish. I’m not a person who gives up.” Chequita even wound up placing second in her age group, much to her own surprise.

Chequita quickly fell in love with the challenge of running, and during her third marathon, she qualified for the notoriously difficult Boston Marathon. She ran the Boston Marathon in 2018, and soon after found a way to combine her newfound talent and ambition to travel. “In 2018, I found out about the World Marathon Major Challenge,” said Chequita. “Runners complete the six hardest and most prominent marathons offered around the globe– the Boston, New York, London, Berlin, Chicago, and Tokyo Marathons. I knew I had to do this challenge, despite injury setbacks and COVID-19.” Chequita started quickly ticking these marathons off her list, completing Boston and New York in 2018, Berlin and Chicago in 2019, London in 2021, and Tokyo in 2023.

Although it may seem that Chequita has completed her goals, she is not close to slowing down– even after completing the World Majors, the 62-year-old teacher has officially made plans to run a marathon on every single continent in the coming years. She further plans to retire from her teaching position soon, which will free up more time for her to pursue her passion for travel and running. “There is nothing I love more than the challenge of travel. I love going to a new country and figuring out the language, how to get around, the cuisine, the culture, everything,” said Chequita. “Running is the same way. There are always unexpected challenges you have to face, and I love that. I knew I didn’t want to stop once I finished the World Majors.”


Chequita has already completed one or more official marathons in North America, Europe, and Asia, and has begun adding the final few continents to her list. She recently flew to South Africa in October of 2023 for the Cape Town Marathon, and is planning to run the Rio de Janeiro in June of 2024, the Australian Outback Marathon in July of 2024, and the Antarctic Ice Marathon in 2025. With those races under her belt, Chequita will have completed a marathon on all seven continents across the world.

The local runner, traveler, and teacher possesses an astounding and inspirational sense of drive, and attributes her personality traits to her late mother. “I come from a very, very strong mother, who recently passed away,” said Chequita. “She was humble and the kind of person who never gave up. She put herself and my father through school, and as a child, I was simply not allowed to give up– quitting was not in our vocabulary. Because of that, I became stronger and more determined. I will always draw inspiration from my mom as I continue my journey.”

Chequita also attributes a large source of her inspiration to the United States, and what the Land of the Free represents to her. Out of all her incredible experiences, Chequita remembers the New York Marathon as the most special of her career. “I will always hold the New York Marathon close to my heart, because I remember passing the Statue of Liberty, which represents what America is all about,” said Chequita. “And as someone who was not born in the United States but is a citizen here, passing the Statue of Liberty reminded me that if you work hard, you can become anything you want. This is my second home, the country that gave me my education, my family, and a chance at freedom when I needed it.”


As she continues her race around the globe, Chequita playfully hinted that even completing this goal would not be the end of her career– and she is planning to go back to the ancient roots of marathon running itself. “The idea of our modern marathon came from the legend that Pheidippides, a Greek herald during the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, was sent to run 26.2 miles from Marathon to Athens to announce their victory,” said Chequita excitedly. “Nowadays it is called the Athens Classic Marathon in honor of the tale, and I am going to run it after I complete my marathons on each continent. It’ll be very rewarding to run such an important race.”

With determination in her stride and the world as her track, Chequita continues to chase new horizons with no end in sight– and everyone in Houma can’t wait to see what she’ll do next!