By Allyson Marrs
"It was awful, and I hated it," member Terry Robinson said of his first two-mile jog. Although he liked the solitude of the exercise, rather than the yelling that's common on basketball courts, where he usually exercised, the first time wasn't so great.
But after two weeks of feet to pavement, Terry found it comfortable and not as painful, and signed up for his first 5k. "This 5K race definitely ignited my competitive spirit. It also motivated me to run for such a meaningful cause." Terry ran the Swedish-sponsored Summer Run, supporting the Marsha Rivkin center for Ovarian Cancer Research. "I was not just running alone," he said. "Participating in sponsored events allowed me to direct my efforts back to my own community."
This running high took off on its own, and soon Terry's hobby turned into a big part of his life. He started competing … a lot.
"I never imagined taking part in a true endurance race until I was invited to be part of a co-ed team in the grueling Hood to Coast Relay over Labor Day weekend. I ran three, six-mile legs during a 20-hour period."
Terry was anxious in the final days leading up to the race and considered dropping out, but with some encouragement from his teammates, he ran. Actually, he ran the fastest out of everyone on his 12-person team.
"The relay inspired me to test myself even further," he said. So Terry entered marathons in Boston, New York and Seattle. He took first in a race of 579 runners sponsored by Swedish Hospital, third in the Redmond Derby Days Dash, second in the Spirit of Bellevue 12k and first among 727 runners in the Kirkland Half Marathon.
"My personal highlight in 2012 came when I broke through the tape at the conclusion of the annual 5k Seafair Torchlight Run with a time of 17:23," Terry said. Terry took first in that 2012 run. "Winning was an unexpected thrill. It's a smaller race than Boston, but the crowds are similarly lined up 10-deep for the parade. The enthusiasm is almost as intense as the Boston Marathon."
Terry's continued improvement in the sport over the years caught the attention of the American running team set to compete in the Maccabi Games in Israel during July this year. The team invited Terry to run as part of Team USA in the half marathon.
The Maccabi Games are a competition where Jewish competitors around the world gather for the third largest international sporting event in the world—behind the Olympics and the Pan Am Games.
There will be more than 7,000 athletes from 50 nations, and Terry has had his eye on this particular prize since the 1990s. "If I work hard and improve my times, there is no reason I should come home without a medal," he said.
Along with the travel opportunities and multiple health benefits running has afforded him, Terry enjoys the community as well. He's met new friends, young athletes and has been invited as a guest speaker at summer camps to motivate youths. Even his 14-year-old son Aidan has gotten into the sport—he took first in his age division at the 2012 Seafair Torchlight Run.
For Terry, dedication has taken him on a long run, and it's just one more way fitness can shape a life. "Running has been a catalyst," Terry said, "which has allowed me to discover my true potential."
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