Bertine Lainé took first place for women and fourth overall in the Half-Marathon for Peace on Sunday, June 9th. For more than a decade, this 31-year-old is breaking barriers one race at a time. Facing adversity and with limited resources Bertine has consistently defied the status quo : In Haiti, she is a woman running in what most consider “a man’s race.” She’s ignored them all. Instead, she’s kept running, while gaining speed.
Bertine stepped into running quite haphazardly. She was a young 20-year-old signing up to join the national Haitian police force. “I didn’t make it on the task force,” she explains,” but they had an amazing sports department and it was during my training that I discovered my true passion—running!”
Bertine quickly made a name for herself running in various Haitian competitions and in the Dominican Republic. But where she truly made her mark was as one of Haiti’s leading female athletes. Her determination and tenacity has made her a role model and teacher to other aspiring female runners in her community.
As a runner, Bertine has faced challenges from unexpected sources. By joining the J/P HRO team and going to the ING New York City Marathon, she an opportunity to raise awareness in Haiti: “This is a chance for me to show all those that have criticized me and couldn't understand why I would run in the streets my true talents,” she explains. “I hope that my fellow country men and women will follow my lead so that one day they can be the leading runners of tomorrow."
As a woman moving to the international sports stage, she seeks to earn a place as respected professional female athlete. “I’m excited to compete in a world-class event and I want to put myself on the map as a Haitian female marathon runner.”