Street Athletes: Robin Arzon

We first met the badass that is Róbin Arzon out in San Francisco last year. We were all out there to run the Women’s Marathon . We run with the most hardcore crew in London, Run Dem Crew, Robin runs with the NYC equivalent, Bridgerunners. We bonded over our mutual love of working out and have remained friends since.  Her no nonsense approach to fitness and life make her the perfect candidate to kick off this new ‘Street Athletes’ series. Need some inspiration? Check out more about Róbin below.

– Name
Róbin Arzon

– Age

– What’s your sport?
Mainly endurance races (marathons, mud runs, ultra marathons) with street cycling, crossfit, spin and yoga sprinkled in.

– How did you get into it?

My Rabbi told me once that you shouldn’t do anything significant in life that doesn’t make you more of who you already are.  Running makes me more of . . . me. It’s how I process information and breathe. It’s an odd sensation to be able to think and breathe the clearest and easiest when you’re at the cusp of physically losing your breathe. To use a cheesy cinematic visual, running makes me feel like the ladies from the movie “Waiting to Exhale.”

The underlying, longer answer is that running is like my therapy. A decade ago I was exposed to the resilience of the human spirit when I was held hostage in a bar in the East Village. I ended up being the main hostage who spoke to the police and the assailant. Long story short, a woman jumped him from behind and we all survived. It really wasn’t until I started running years later that I began to truly to process that experience, or to truly draw from the strength that it gave me. So I flipped the script on that story and find strength and positivity in how people can fight to live and overcome. I guess running makes me more of who I am because it lets me pull from the good and eschew the bad.

– What’s been your best moment in your sport so far?

I had been running recreationally for years before I decided to run my first marathon in 2010 to raise money for the MS Society.  In the Spring of 2010 my mom was having trouble with her eyesight as a result of her MS. The scary thought of my mom going blind over something I couldn’t control left me feeling … powerless. I was not raised to wallow in perceived powerlessness.  Running the marathon, a personal feat for me, while raising money for the MS Society was the perfect marriage. I needed to feel control over something that could possibly help my mom and thousands of others like her. Crossing the finish line of my first NY marathon was epic.  And then I caught the bug what runners can really do.

– What motivates you?

I run for my mom, who took up running and continues to astound me with her positivity and light. Growing up my mom, a refugee from Cuba, always told my sister and I that we come from resilient stock. I have a tattoo on my ribs that says “resilient stock” and with every personal best and every goal I set for myself with running, I tap into that well of confidence and bring it into other areas of my life.

I run for those with MS who can’t.  I run for veterans who can’t. I run for car accident victims who can’t. I run because nobody ever drowned in sweat.

– How do you push yourself when you don’t want to train?

Just shut up and run.

– What’s your favourite motivational quote?

“Healthy is the new gangsta.” – SticMan from Dead Prez.

– What events do you have lined up for this year?

Rockefeller Center Stair Climb, Berlin Half, North Face 50-miler, Burning Man Ultra-marathon, NY Marathon, various mud runs

– What role does fitness play in your life?

At the risk of sounding hyperbolic – it is my life.  It’s such a passion of mine that I am leaving my law career to pursue fitness writing and correspondent work full time.  Jumping off a cliff into something I love feels great, but scary.

– Do you draw inspiration from any other types of sport?

Simultaneously yoga and Crossfit.  The juxtaposition of the two are complementary for me – one part zen and one part spice.  Both keep me honest and in tune with how my body is feeling, and how my endurance training is progressing.

– What’s your top training tip?

Listen to your body, but don’t be afraid of it.  It’s only then that you will discover that balance of pushing your boundaries to what the human body can do and respecting it.

– What do you do in your down time? 

I play as hard as I work.  The crevices of NYC are my playground.  I sing a fantastically bad (truly terrible) version of Tina Turner’s “Proud Mary,” and am partial to grapefruit habanero margaritas.


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