Pastor Al Robinson and his wife Kari-Anne Robinson pose for a picture after Al ran a Boston Marathon qualifying race in Edmonton this past August.
Pass Herald Reporter
Pastor Al Robinson started running when he was 50. He said he originally got into it because other family members were running races “I wanted to be a part of it too,” he said.
So he decided to start small with a small 5 km race. He trained for two months and immediately got hooked. “It’s a herd-high. Runners have a whole culture to themselves,” said Robinson.
Then it occurred to him. If he’s going to run a race, why not run and raise money for a cause. He chose Guatemala because a group from two local Crowsnest Pass churches to do missionary work on a school. “It was the right fit, and it felt good,” he said.
He chose children in Guatemala City after traveling there on numerous work project teams. “A group of us from the Crowsnest Pass help build a school down there and came face to face with the extreme poverty.
With each race he ran, the funds that he raised grew, and like the funds Robinson raised, the lengths of the races grew too.
Soon Robinson was running races of 21 km- a half marathon.
“Once you start running, you always want to raise the bar,” Robinson explained. “You want to chase the challenge.”
He explained that most recreational runners have the ambition to run at least one marathon during their lifetime.
He was one of those runners and his dream marathon was the Boston Marathon.
“My sister in-law and I decided to put a marathon on our bucket list.
“Then I got to thinking. I’m running to raise money, and I wanted a race that would capture people’s attention. I chose the Boston Marathon, because it’s the granddaddy of them all.”
Besides the fact that the race is world known and sees tens of thousands of competitive runners annually, there was another reason Robinson wanted to run the Boston Marathon, runners need to qualify in order to run in it.
For Robinson, the journey to qualify was a long one. He started training in January, and trained three days a week for four consecutive months. “I do all my training inside,” Robinson explained. “I only train three days a week because I believe my body needs rest, and rest is just as important as running.”
The qualifying race that he chose was a Marathon in Red Deer that took place this past spring.
Unfortunately, despite his training efforts, Robinson missed qualification time. Even more disappointing, he missed it by only 49 seconds.
“Was I disappointed? Not at all,” Robinson said. “I actually saw it as a blessing as 3:39 might not have been good enough and I wouldn’t have found out until it was too late to run another race.”
Robinson trained all summer.
He continued to train for three more consecutive months: June, July and August and on August 19th, he drove to Edmonton to run in his qualifying race for the Boston Marathon.
“I had two things that I was going to change from my race in Red Deer. First, I was going to drink more than just water. More supplements, like energy gel and power bars.”
Robinson explained that the second thing that was going to change was not in his control, but simply an element of the race. Unlike the qualifying race in Red Deer which a smaller, more intimate race, the race in Edmonton saw close to 2,000 runners. This meant for Robinson, more people to chase right to the finish line.
Robinson ran the race, and felt it went well. The cut-off time to meet in order to run in the Boston Marathon was three hours, 40 minutes. Robinson’s time was four hours, 36 minutes. He made the cut by four minutes exactly. “I was thrilled,” he said.” I was going to Boston.”
Still keeping in mind his ambition to raise money for underprivileged orphans, Robinson made a goal to raise $55,000- not solely in the Boston Marathon but in total, throughout his running career.
Already he has raised $11, 000.
Robinson’s close friends Mike and Connie Gordon, who are currently working in an orphanage in the Philippines are an inspiration to Robinson, and he wanted to help them.
“Most people I know want to support kids. I also know that they want to make sure that 95 per cent of their dollar goes to the child and not administration. I know that the money I raise and send to Mike and Connie will go into supporting the orphans,” Robinson said.
Some of the Gordon’s ministry takes them to the city dump where a lot of these children call home.
“I think the people in the Crowsnest Pass and around the province will feel it’s a great cause, and we will reach the goal together.”
Robinson has already raised $11,000 dollars, all of which is charitable.
The Boston Marathon is on April 13th, 2013.
Robinson will start training in January.