Born and raised in New Zealand, Craig Martin was exposed to the horse world as a child, through his grandfather, who was a competitive race jockey and Inter Dominion winner.
“I was always hanging around his horses and stables. My grandfather was a real horseman,” says Craig, a sales associate with Wellington Equestrian Realty (WER). “That’s what I built my whole riding career on – through his example of horsemanship.”
Craig Martin worked and trained in Europe for more than a decade with some of the best in the business, including Tim Stockdale, Barry Taylor, and William Funnel. He has brought horses up through the levels from youngsters to the Grand Prix ring. In 2003, Craig moved to the U.S.A and continued to compete and coach at most of the major North American competitions, including the Winter Equestrian Festival and Spruce Meadows. In 2004 he was longlisted for the Athens Olympics, and shortly there-after he arrived in Wellington and has remained ever since.
In 2006, he founded Wordley Martin Equestrian with fellow show jumper Sharn Wordley, specializing in arena construction and site work. This equestrian focused construction business gave Craig a unique perspective of the Wellington real estate market, which has made him such a valuable member of the WER team since 2013.
With the majority of real estate clients in Wellington being absentee owners, Craig says his knowledge of this unique market goes a long way. “During their absence, they‘re confident that the people conducting work on behalf of WER are trustworthy — I coordinate and manage all those facets of business and that’s what has enabled WER to personalize and broaden services to our clients.”
Craig rides only recreationally but enjoys remaining connected to the horse industry. Craig’s wife, Rae Marie, also competes as an amateur show jumper and works in equine medicine for Palm Beach Equine Medical Centers. “Horses have been a passion all of my life and now that I’m not actively competing, taking part of an equestrian related business keeps me very connected to the horse industry,” Craig says.
“I enjoy being around horse people and with my background, I understand their needs when searching for farm or luxury property. Finding a client their dream home in Palm Beach County is a privilege and I enjoy the process.”
Journey From Show Jumper to Ironman
Craig has transitioned his competitive ambition in the show ring to training intensely for national and international Iron Man triathlons, which consist of swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and running 26.2 miles. Most recently, he traveled to Argentina to take part in one of the most grueling races in the world, RacingThePlanet Patagonia.
RacingThePlanet Patagonia is a 7-day, 250-kilometer/155-mile self-supported footrace which takes place in Bariloche, Argentina. The course landscape, located on the border between Argentina and Chile, is like no other; there are ancient forests, pristine blue mountain lakes, high plateaus, river valleys, peaks of the Andes Mountain Range and an extinct volcano. In addition to the vast topography, the brutal cold and wild weather conditions tested each racer’s resolve.
Craig trained hard for a year leading up to this race, and he had plenty of support through Lisa Batchen Smith, world renown Ultra coach and Rich Wygand, Craig’s Ironman coach.
At the race, Craig was joined by 289 other competitors hailing from all over the world who shared the same single determination – Complete the race! They traveled together to base camp, where they prepared for 6 days of traversing the untamed outdoor elements of Argentina.
Craig paired up with his friend Chip, an elite ultrarunner who set the pace on day one. Knowing that he had to avoid injury and strain, Craig managed his own pace over the first few days, braving the weather and preparing for ‘The Long March’ on day 5. ‘The Long March’, as it was known to all competitors, consisted of 45 miles of the toughest terrain on the planet.
Below are excerpts from Craig’s Diary from the last two days of competition.
Stage 5 – The Long March
“Stage 5 had the most EXTREME sections of the whole race, this combined with the coldest wettest conditions so far it made for a tough day at the office. 7+ hours into the race I was feeling ok but fatigue was setting in, my body was saying enough. It’s a strange thing how one minute you feel completely depleted then the next your feeling better. Sports psychologists talk about the `five-second rule’ when you hit the wall basically your mind needs to tell the body to get going within 5 seconds or your mind can let you weaken.”
“Pain is something I became familiar with in my Ironman training and competitions. I have completed an Ironman with stress fractures in my feet. Pain is something I have learned to deal with so when my body wants to shut it all down I know how to push through. ”
“Luckily enough during this race, I was able to achieve this again, the last 10 miles with sleeting rain and horrible cold conditions Chip & I pushed our bodies to the max…..passing 7 runners we finished in a very respectable time of 9 hours 43 minutes.”
Stage 6 – Final run to Black Glacier / Cerro Tronador
“With another cold night, I could not wait for the morning to roll around. My body was tight and tired in the sleeping bag and I was hungry, having a limited calorie intake during the week I was looking forward to getting back to civilization and having a steak & beer!! During the rest day, we all sat around a campfire discussing what we all were going to eat on our return to Bariloche!”
“5.30 am was the start of the last stretch which was a short run up to Black Glacier. I was determined not to lose my overall Stage 5 position in 20th during this last leg. The short distance was still a test as we ran uphill to Black Glacier the whole way. I ran as fast as I could, being careful not to fall over, sprain an ankle or do something stupid.”
“Hearing the familiar sounds of the Finish line drums beating that occurred at every stage finish I started to smile. Making the last incline turn I crossed the `Final Official Timing line’ in a total of 26 hours 47 mins for this 145-mile race. Picking up one spot on this last day running ahead of a South African chap I finished overall in 19th place from 289 runners as they say it’s not over till the fat lady sings.”
“Race organizers had set up the finishing timeline just before the decline down some steps to where they had the `Racing the Planet Banner’ with all the Competitors Nation’s flags flying at the edge of Black Glacier. I waited for Steve and Chip to get to the timing line, the race was over…….. then we all walked down the steps and jogged over the finish together.”
“Cold beer and cold pizza were offered to Competitors…..thinking this would be enjoyable it was so cold by the glacier it was tough to digest anything. We all took some pictures and loaded up on the bus for the 1.30-hour ride back to Bariloche where we all knew a long awaited shower and hot food was there!”
“I met some incredible people on this adventure which will be lifetime mates for sure. Would I do a race again like this, I’m not sure…..doing a race like this in extreme conditions tests your mental resolve.”
“Personally I have to be constantly seeking new adventures in life making me push harder, even at times failing in order to feel alive. Endurance sports have made me better at managing life’s little hurdles, whether family or business related, I know that the stronger my body is it’s easy for my mind to deal with the daily pressures of work and life.”
Wellington Equestrian Realty is proud of Craig’s remarkable efforts and dedication to his training routine. Craig’s competitive lifestyle mirrors his career drive and quest for a challenge in the workplace. He is an asset to Wellington Equestrian Realty and we encourage you to contact him to find your next dream equestrian property in Palm Beach County!