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Find Where You Fit In

- by Robyn Benson

I was just 15 years old on April 20, 1981 when I crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon in 3hours, 58 minutes, along with my dear friend Tim Ross.

Our mutual friend and classmate Todd died from Leukemia, just one year to the date earlier on April 20, 1980.  We arrived back home tired and sore, yet elated.  Both Tim and I felt compelled to train and complete a marathon in his memory, as it was Todd’s dream.

My dad was a college swim coach and felt I was too young to take on this endeavor, but said, “Robyn, if you are very serious about this, and you run twenty miles, a month before the marathon I will drive you, Tim and your siblings to Boston (7 hours away)!  Deep inside me, I knew I could do this, and that the spirit of Todd lived in me.

The three of us were on the cross-country running team together, and we were in the same Earth Science class.  I was always inspired to have endless conversations with Todd about school subjects, sports and his health challenges, but what I loved most was to hear him speak of his dreams and goals, while knowing he may not live to fulfill them.  

His strength, courage and wit taught me so much as I quickly learned my own personal problems were insignificant to his fight for his life.

I was amazed when he would show up at cross country practice withered, weighing just eighty pounds, with a strand or two of hair blowing in the wind.  He was mighty, and had such a passion for life; something I knew I did not have.

There was tremendous transition at this time in my life as my parents had just separated, my best friend lost her father, and I was seriously questioning life and who I was. “Why is there so much suffering.” I wondered. and perhaps what really struck me more deeply was what was I going to do with my life?  

Up until that time, I was not a very happy girl. Although I excelled in sports and academics, I felt pretty lost.  I was one of four kids, we went on fun camping trips, but I always felt something was missing.

Finishing this first marathon early in my life was a milestone.  Without a doubt it completely changed my life, and certainly set the course for the life I am living 33 years later.  I learned to take risk, to do something that truly scared me, to move through my doubts and fears and to keep my mind and heart on course as I ran across the finish line.

My connection to Todd while training and running in the marathon, taught me to go for my dreams, to work hard and persevere until my goals are accomplished.  I realized then too how much this experience had shaped me as a person.  I felt whole, my belief in myself escalated, as I knew I could accomplish anything I truly desired.  

My self concept has been challenged, yet I know deep in my soul, that as I continue to feel and cultivate this inner strength, and love and care for myself, I will continue to be the passionate, purpose-driven person that I am.  Just as the body needs tending through proper regimens of food, rest and exercise, so does the soul. Passions, dreams, goals, they are all re-ignited from time to time.

I am here to leave the world a better place and my life living legacy is to help each and every person realize how valuable they are and that their life really matters in order live their dreams, passions and purpose.


We wish to thank Dr. Robyn Benson for her submission of this article to our Lessons From Self Esteem ebook.

For 22 years, Dr. Robyn Benson DOM adventure enthusiast, world traveler, speaker and author, loves to help each and every patient achieve optimal health.,  and



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