every runner has a story

Meet Yvonne Robinson

► From: Puerto Rico
► Started running at age 54 with Galloway Lakeland
► Abbott World Majors Six Star Finisher

The Abbott World Marathon Majors is a series of six of the largest and most renowned marathons in the world: Tokyo Marathon, B.A.A. Boston Marathon, TCS London Marathon, BMW Berlin-Marathon, Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and TCS New York City Marathon.

Yvonne is one of 2,863 American runners, and the second LRC member, who has completed all six world majors.  This is her story.

“Never in a million years did I think I could run a marathon.  It seemed crazy to me how anyone could accomplish that feat.”

Yvonne has always been an advocate for healthy living. Being a Latina prone to having high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease, she decided she would do everything possible not to end up with the health problems that plagued her family. It is one of the reasons she became a nurse, to lead by example.

Yvonne’s four children and their activities and school functions kept her busy with no time for herself. She needed something to fill that void once they were grown and she was an empty nester, and a nursing friend encouraged her to go to a meeting at FitNiche where Olympian Jeff Galloway would be speaking. She had no idea who he was, but that encounter and the local Galloway Program introduced her to the run/walk method and helped her qualify for the Boston Marathon. But that didn’t happen overnight.

Yvonne had always been active, and tried to do some form of exercise, even tried some running but had no clue on how to go about it. Yvonne started running with the Lakeland Galloway group in 2011 at age 54, meeting and making many long-lasting friends. She was encouraged to sign up for a race and she had NO IDEA of how many races there were. She chose and ran the Women’s Half Marathon in St. Petersburg for her first half marathon in November of 2011, followed by the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February 2012.

There were a lot of great conversations on those long training runs, and she would listen to the marathoners talk about the Boston Marathon and wonder why anyone would want to run a marathon so far away when there were plenty of races to run in Florida. It would take a few years and much encouragement from her friends to have the courage to try training for a marathon. Yvonne chose the 2013 Clearwater Marathon. She describes it as “not pretty”, and “I told myself I would never run another one again!”. It took her over a year to decide to the distance another attempt, but she tried again with the encouragement and inspiration of the marathoners in the Galloway program.

Yvonne’s second marathon was the 2014 Space Coast Marathon, and she dropped her time by 18 minutes. Encouraged by the improvements she was experiencing through training, she set a personal goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon, telling only a single friend about her goal. At the 2016 Miami Marathon, at age 60, Yvonne ran a Boston Qualifying time of 4:24. But running a qualifying time (the 60-64 age group cutoff in 2016 was 4:25), didn’t mean she’d make the cut, so a few months later she ran the 2016 Tomoka Marathon, improving her time to 4:08. That’s when she knew she loved the marathon distance. Running all 50 states in her lifetime wasn’t realistic, so she set her sights on completing the six World Majors.

The journey to complete all six World Major Marathons has taken Yvonne seven years and 17 marathons. She ran Boston in 2017, and ran her personal best marathon time – 3:57, 7th in her age group, at the 2017 Chicago Marathon. She had a setback in 2018, when she had a complete tear of her ACL from high intensity group exercise at the gym. It was able to be repaired, but she was sidelined for over three months. Starting over is never easy, and her return included lots of physical therapy, strengthening exercises, walking, then running slowly with a leg brace. She missed her running friends and felt isolated. “I am sure I drove my husband crazy, but he was very supportive”. She ran the New York Marathon in 2019, and Berlin in 2021.  She worked her way through a hamstring injury, with more physical therapy and home exercises which she did religiously because she was determined to get back out there doing what she loved – running!

Yvonne eventually moved on from the Galloway program, and has been working with a coach for the past two years “I love the weekly check ins with Jon Mott and advice to be able to improve and stay injury free. I consider my friend Sarah Kozul my coach as well. I would not be where I am today if it was not for her. I’m blessed to have her as my friend”.  Yvonne collected her fifth World Major star at the London Marathon in 2023, and finished the collection at her 17th marathon, the Tokyo marathon, in March 2024.

Yvonne encourages everyone to find a group that you can belong to. “It helps you to be accountable and so much more fun than running by yourself. You will find long lasting friends that will encourage you along the way. I enjoy this sport so much; it has been so good for my well being physically and mentally”. Belonging to a running club like LRC has given her purpose by belonging to a group of great people and has allowed her to give back to the community by volunteering.

In addition to running, Yvonne loves gardening, biking, and traveling to National Parks with her husband Dick. Currently she is busy nannying for her twin granddaughters and enjoying time with her adult children and grandchildren.

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