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Doug Robbins

Bedford, NY
  • Doug Robbins in the photo 1
  • Doug Robbins in the photo 2

On July 27, 2014, at the age of 64, I became the last official finisher of the Lake Placid Ironman. It was a crazy day of lightening storms, torrential downpours and general pandemonium.

But the journey began several years earlier after having had a failed meniscus surgery and being given the prognosis of possibly never running, cycling or skiing again. That same week I happened upon an article written by Dr. Jordan Metzl in Triathlete Magazine preaching the gospel of core strength. At our first meeting, he told me that like many others, I’d had unnecessary surgery. He prescribed a path of rehab and then aggressive personal training. He was the first to tell me that my dream of finishing an Ironman could be a possibility.

My next good fortune was to connect with a great coach, Eric Hodska. He, like Jordan, believed that I could complete this race. Each week he sent a plan outlining the day’s activity. He kept the regimen sane and balanced. He was relentless. But in the final weeks, he turned to me and said that it was time that I believed in my heart that I could do this. It didn’t matter how confident he was.

And so on the morning of July 27th, I began my journey. It was truly a case of train for everything and expect the unexpected. At mile 18 of the marathon, Kelly, a volunteer, came cycling alongside. She explained that I was the last competitor and that she was there to accompany me to the finish. Many of the volunteers that kept the aid stations open as I passed promised to meet me at the finish as well. As I turned on the final leg of the course, a police escort pulled behind. Janice, my wife, met me with two miles to go and ran alongside. There were volunteers running with me as well. What a celebration. What an amazing journey.

As I reflect upon this event I keep one thought close to my heart. There is always a way. I know without the support of a loving wife, family, great friends, selfless volunteers and great professional advice this would have been near impossible. But it has taught me the true-life lesson to never abandon your dreams!

Doug Robbins