SAU Elite

We’re so grateful for those who gave to the SAU Elite program to help cover the expenses of Nathan Martin’s journey to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Nathan finished 23rd overall with a time of 2:21:28—we look forward to continuing to watch his journey!

Our vision for SAU Elite is that it will continue to grow into and support a tribe of runners from the SAU community. If you are interested in partnering with us to further support the SAU running community, you are welcome to make a gift to the SAU Elite program below.


Thanks for your support!













Spring Arbor University’s Cross Country and Track and Field Programs have had many great athletes. From a few national champions to multiple All-Americans, Spring Arbor Track and Field has a great athletic history. In addition, the Spring Arbor Track and Field team has also been a very supportive family. When teammates are going through rough times, other teammates help carry their burdens. This was Nathan Martin’s experience while attending Spring Arbor University (SAU).


SAU Athletics is looking to raise money in support of the SAU Elite running program that was developed to support Spring Arbor alumni as they continue to compete at a high level. One example of this is Nathan Martin as he pursues his dream of running at the Olympic Trials next month in Los Angeles. Nathan was a standout athlete from 2009 to 2013.   He was the NAIA national champion in the 10,000m and indoor 5,000m in 2013, the SAU record holder in 6 events, and set the 28-year old NAIA record for the marathon – the first time he ever ran the race.


Anyone who knows Nathan knows that he is humble and cares deeply about others. He is very grateful for his family—Three Rivers and the SAU community—who have provided key support on many levels. This support has enabled him to become the man he is today and to assist him in all that he has accomplished. Nathan chose to remain in Spring Arbor after college to stay close to family, friends and the community. Nathan wanted to pursue professional running opportunities, but not by sacrificing family, friends and the continued personal development he needed from the SAU community. Nathan is working as a substitute teacher in the local school districts in order to fulfill his financial obligations, a burden many of his competitors don’t have due to sponsorships.


Early funding for SAU Elite came in August 2013 when Dr. Tom Kuntzleman (SAU chemistry professor) competed in an Ironman triathlon to help raise support for Nathan Martin and his journey to get to the Olympic trials for the marathon. Many alumni and people from the Three Rivers and Spring Arbor communities rallied behind this cause.


SAU Elite was able to utilize those funds to target key races and gain access to a partnership with an elite coach. One key race those first dollars funded was his trip to the USA marathon championships last October.


Nathan finished 6th with an Olympic Trials qualifying time of 2:15:47!!!


SAU’s impact on his life

Nathan Martin summarizes his experience at SAU with two words:  faith and community. He learned a lot about both, and they are what carried him through college.


“I have little doubt that I could have pursued my degree at other places, and even made good friends along the way. However; to find a place that could not only help me grow my faith, but show me just how powerful a group of people who live for more than themselves can be, is something most places could not provide at the level Spring Arbor was able to.”


Nathan attested that his goal in his post-collegiate running career is to give back to all those who have poured into him and believed in him along the way.


SAU Elite is now asking for financial support to help Nathan continue pursuing his running goals and further highlight the running success within the SAU community. The money will allow us to do the following:

  1. Continue our partnership with SAU Elite coach, Gavin Smith, who is now coaching Nathan Martin and Bryan Burk, the SAU Elite members ($1,500).
  2. Travel money to train in Los Angeles leading up to the Olympic Trials ($5,000 for 10 days)
  3. Any additional funds raised will be used for travel to future races or training camps.


THANK YOU for the support you have given SAU Elite and Nathan! THANK YOU for considering financially supporting this next big step of sending our local town hero to the Olympic Trials!


100 percent of the funds raised will go towards the SAU Elite program.