Wonder Woman: Robyn Chatwood, A Marine Corps Marathoner

Running a marathon takes guts. It takes the strength of mind, body and soul to complete those heart-aching, back-breaking 26.2 miles. Running a marathon takes incredible toughness, nerve and guile - but running five takes just a little bit of crazy.

Just ask Robyn Chatwood, one of our very own Team Code of Support runners. Already a champion in many other fields, she’s definitely not averse to hard work, and exemplifies it in every aspect of her life. Even after having two kids, Johnny (3yrs) and Robert (9mo), she continues to persevere, and even picks up the pace. She recently participated in a ruck march, which instead of marching, she flat out ran. She ran the Army Ten-Miler as a warm up, then returned home to make breakfast for her kids. Her longest training run so far has been 15 miles, which she completed while suffering from a severe flu. This woman knows dedication, in sickness and in health, a trait that follows her into many other aspects of her life. Her husband John currently works 5 hours away in Blacksburg as a professor of Military Science at Virginia Tech and Radford University. The commute is strenuous, especially with two kids in the mix, but this couple knows how to go the distance.

Back when they were just undergrads at Virginia Military Institute (VMI), these two met through ranger challenge and developed a bond of shared experiences. Graduation came, however, and the two went their separate ways - Robyn going to law school at the University of Denver and John going on to deploy to Afghanistan. It was a few years before the two ran into each other again in South Korea, where both were stationed. While reluctant at first, Robyn says John was ‘very persistent’ and eventually won her over. The persistency paid off - they were married just 4 months after that chance run-in across the globe. While the ceremony didn’t involve a lot of pomp and circumstance, a quick half hour affair at the Consulate in Korea, Robyn says she did don civvies during the ceremony before jumping back into uniform to get to work. She still has a wedding dress tucked away in the closet which she hopes to wear one day, but for now her most common outfit is a pair of running shorts and ASICS.

Training has never been easy for this on-the-go mom. From hiring sitters at 6 am, to getting in her daily runs during lunch or on the school track before picking up her kids, she’ll do whatever it takes to make it across the finish line for the fifth time. She says sometimes even the sleep deprivation helps with achieving that runner’s high, and while we never recommend running with your eyes closed, she says the feeling helps put her in a bit of a trance that carries her through the miles. For this upcoming marathon, she’s most looking forward to the mile markers, which will be in flag form. She intends to ‘follow the flag’ and chase it down to keep her on pace and motivated.

This wonder woman has known struggles, but she attributes her fortitude to her time at VMI. ‘A marathon is easy compared to four years there,’ she says, and that’s how she keeps majority of her life in perspective. While she just had a C-section 9 months ago, she’s hoping this will be the marathon that qualifies her for Boston. It will be her first marathon without her mother running alongside her (who she beats every time), but she assures me the drill sergeant inside her head will pull her through this one, along with all the love and support of her family in Richmond, where she was born and raised.

We’re looking forward to watching Robyn achieve her goals on October 25th and so excited to have such a stellar person on our team. This will be the first time Robyn is running for a cause, and we’re incredibly lucky that she chose us. If you would like to help Robyn cross that finish line and support her in her training, please think about making a donation to her page, http://codeofsupportmcm.causevox.com/robyn . She’s an incredible woman running for an incredible cause and we would love for you to be a part of it.