Robin Arzon is a “resilient stock”, as her mother would often tell her. Someone who falls down but gets up even more stronger. Robin has perhaps experienced all-time lows more than what could be considered her fair share. Born to immigrant parents, Robin originally planned to follow her dad’s footsteps and become a lawyer. She enrolled her self for an undergraduate degree at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study and knew that she would have to buckle herself up for the tough stuff when she pursued her post-graduate degree in law school.
About a year before her graduation from Gallatin, Robin met a couple of friends at Bar Veloce in New York’s East Village. But little did any of them know that a casual, fun night would soon transform into a life-altering experience that would be pivotal in shaping Robin’s future. The night that Robin and her friends were out, was the same night chosen by 34-year old gunman Steven Johnson, to “choose the time he dies”. Equipped with three guns, a sword kerosene, and lighters the madman made his way into the club soon after following the trail of a man he shot. Robin was taken in as a human shield by the gunman and was doused with kerosene as he held by her hair, muttering nonsense. It took an entire fleet of the Emergency Unit Police along with two patrons, who jumped the gunman to subdue him into giving up.
A traumatizing event like this is not easy to forget, but Robin got back up, finished her graduation and went to Villanova law school after which she practiced for seven years at a prestigious law firm. While finishing her law school studies she found running as a means to heal, and which would soon result in her breaking free of all conventions. To chronicle her journey, she started a blog called “Shut Up and Run”, which provided her the motivation she needed to go on a run despite working over 80 hours per week as a corporate lawyer. Soon enough, she bid her corporate life adieu when she found herself “counting down the minutes” until she could go for a run in the years at the law office. It seemed like a silly decision, especially for someone who was used to being made fun of on the school playground and who was forging notes as a teenager to get out of gym class.
Initially, it was difficult as Robin had very little idea about the direction in which she was headed. But being surrounded by like-minded people (athletes and people who loved to sweat) thanks to her blog and her stint as a freelance sports journalist, Robin created a new life as an “Ambassador of Sweat” – becoming a running coach, cycling instructor, and ultramarathoner.
But life threw her another curveball when she turned 32 and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Instead of thinking ” Why me?”, Robin wanted to know how she could continue her life as an athlete. It was tough for her as she is strictly vegan and was recommended to consume meat-filled foods to control her insulin. However, Robin knew that she had to take matters into her own hands if she wanted to live on her own terms. Just 10 days after her diagnosis and intensive research on alternatives to insulin injections, her doctor put her on an OmniPod insulin pump because of its tubeless design and a Dexcom continuous glucose monitor so she could watch her glucose values in real time.
Robin made good use of both tools recently when she finished the New York City Marathon in 2017, her fourth marathon with Type 1 diabetes. In an interview with Huffington Post, she said ” I really believe we need to trust our struggles. It can be hard to find reason and rationality in a disease like diabetes when you think your body should be doing what it’s meant to do but it doesn’t. Trust your struggle. There’s always light through the cracks. Find inspiration online, from friends and family, from the community, and it will reinforce your power.”
She currently teaches at least seven cycling classes at Peloton, runs 70-90 miles, does at least two strength-based classes, takes one yoga class and meditates daily. As a part of the MS Run, the US campaign to honor her mother who has multiple sclerosis, Robin ran five marathons in five days (130 miles) in 2010. Arzon ran the Keys 100 – a 100-mile ultramarathon from Key Largo to Key West in Florida in May 2017. She also completed her sixth New York City Marathon on November 6th, 2017.