Clarenville woman runs first Boston Marathon

Published on April 18, 2017

Nancy Robbins in Boston on Monday.

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CLARENVILLE - As the first rays of sun hit Clarenville, local resident Nancy Robbins was hitting the pavement.

Nancy Robbins (centre in blue jacket) with her family and local supporters participated in the Boston Marathon.
Contributed photo

Decked out in athletic gear and trainers, Robbins ran for a reason. She was in Boston on the Easter weekend to compete in the annual Boston Marathon.
This marathon is not for the faint of heart, or the ill-prepared, with a daunting 42 kilometres between the start and finish lines.
Robbins has always been active, participating in her first road race back in 2002.
To qualify for the Boston Marathon, she recently ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which also boasts 42 kilometres.
Joking about this writer’s lack of athletic abilities, Robbins understood the sentiment, explaining she shared the same thoughts watching a triathlon in Corner Brook many years ago.
“Watching what they were putting their bodies through, it was like, ‘Oh my Lord, how are they doing that?!’” Robbins laughed.
Since then, she has experienced a major paradigm shift.
When asked how she keeps herself inspired and disciplined, Robbins shared a simple answer: “I just love it.”
“There’s physical well-being, mental well-being, emotional
 well-being, friendships,” she continued. “I particularly enjoy running with others ... Some of my best thinking happens when I’m running, or it could come from conversations with others or just conversations with myself,” Robbins said.
Robbins has been doing a lot of solo running this winter, with the marathon keeping her inspired to get out for a run despite the inclement weather.
The treadmill has also been a friend.
While it’s been a long, rough winter, Robbins has been steadfast in her training.
“It’s intense,” Robbins said of her training program.
 “It’s been almost two and a half years working towards this goal … when I set the goal of running the Boston Marathon, I wasn’t running at a pace – even in a 5km (race) – to be able to qualify for Boston,” she said. “I had to first get faster and then I had to learn to run much further.
“Right now, as I lead up to my race, I’m over 120 kilometres a week of training.”
Robbins chose to run Boston Marathon after hearing numerous positive reviews from fellow runners.
She is actually be the fifth person from Clarenville to run the Boston Marathon since 2012, which is “quite impressive for a community of 6,500,” Robbins noted.
“Everyone had to qualify, so everyone had to work really hard to get there. You share that bond,” she explained.
“There’s an incredible sense of community and support. The whole community really embraces this run, I think even more so after what took place in 2013,” Robbins said, referencing the Boston Marathon bombing that took three lives, and injured hundreds.
“I’m told it’s unlike any other run and that made me curious enough to work this hard to get there.”
While Robbins is pounding the pavement, her partner, who is also a runner, stays home with their two kids.
Her family, friends, peers, fellow runners and running coach have all been overwhelmingly supportive of her training.
“Just yesterday, my son made a comment that maybe someday he’d run in Boston. My daughter has commented on how proud she is of mommy,” Robbins shared. “Hearing little comments like that, it shows that this is having a positive impact on them as well,” she said.
Her participation in the race will also have a positive impact on the community. Robbins ran in support of 12-year-old Clarenville resident, Darian Hunt, who is battling leukemia.