Meet the Runner: Robyn Kolk

“My favorite distance to run is 3 miles. It never feels like a big deal, so even on days that I’m lazy, it’s totally doable. And when I’m done, it’s just enough to feel accomplished.” – Robyn Kolk (Kalamazoo, Michigan)

When did you start running and why? 

I started running in 2008, during my senior year of high school. Before this, I was extremely uninterested in running and fitness in general. However, in my fitness class we were offered extra credit if we ran in the Grand Rapids River Bank Run. So, three of my friends and I signed up for the 5k and actually enjoy ourselves! Ever since then I have run that race every year (besides 2012 when I was in Sydney, Australia where I ran an 8k so I didn’t entirely miss my tradition).


What is your favorite distance to run? 

My favourite distance to run is 3 miles. It never feels like a big deal, so even on days that I’m lazy, it’s totally doable. And when I’m done, it’s just enough to feel accomplished.

What has been your most memorable race so far?

So far my most memorable race was this past May (May 2014). I ran the Borgess Half Marathon in Kalamazoo, MI. My roommate and I trained for 12 weeks together (I only missed one day!) and it was both of our first times running a half.

During the race I had four goals: 1) Don’t let any marathoners lap me, 2) Finish without any walking breaks 3) Keep my pace under 10 minutes per mile 4) Finish under 2 hours. I was able to accomplish half of these goals.

I crossed the finish line before the winner of the marathon (granted he was only a few minutes behind me, but hey, it counts!). I also finished with an average pace of 9:47. I crossed the line at 2:03:51, a tiny four minutes past my goal and I did have to walk some at the end. I was going solid until mile 9 where the port-a-potty was calling my name. After that it was off and on between running and walking and my calf started to cramp up really bad. Just before I crossed the finish line I thought “I am NEVER doing this again” and once I crossed I cried tears of joy when I saw my friends there with encouraging signs and open arms ready to hug and congratulate me. That’s when I decided I couldn’t wait to sign up for my next long distance race.

Robyn Kolk

Is there an athlete or person that inspires you?
So many runners inspire me! I don’t think I could pick just one. Daily, I read the blogs of Katie Ringley  and Janae. I also stalk the Instagrams of Mellie Cay and Baddie Dae because they have some of the greatest running pictures. And my favorite athlete to follow is Kara Goucher, she’s amazing!

What are your 2015 overall fitness or running goals?

My three goals for 2015 are:

  1. Run, for the first time, the 25k Grand Rapids River Bank Run and complete with an average pace of under 10 minutes per mile. My first three years I ran the 5k, the next three years I ran the 10k, now this year it’s time to step it up and run the 25k. It will be my longest distance yet!
  2. Strength train more. Sometimes when I spend so long on the treadmill at the gym, the last thing I want to do is spend even more time lifting. My body loves to grow muscles though and I want to get stronger and leaner.
  3. Be selected to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco. So many people want to run it that you have to “win” a chance to even register. Let take about 25,000 so I’m hoping my chance are pretty good!

Final thoughts?
It’s not who you are that holds you back, it’s who you think you’re not. Never give up on your goals and if they don’t scare you, they’re not big enough!





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