Not even the cancellation of the 2020 TCS NYC Marathon this year can stop Grenada’s very own Philomena Robertson from running 26.2 miles in honour of Reach Within, a local charity that supports children who have experienced abuse or neglect.
This Sunday, 1 November, Robertson will run her very own marathon route through the streets of Grenada! Just as it takes perseverance to run a marathon, it also takes great strength for vulnerable children to heal from difficult experiences. But Robertson is here to remind all children, that step-by-step you can achieve your goals. Reach Within is also here to support these children through therapeutic programming, caregiver training and mentoring support that continues into young adulthood. Troy Clarke, Reach Within’s Transitional Living Coordinator for adolescent and young adults, interviewed Robertson to find out a little more about the woman behind this marathon endeavour:
Clarke: Good day Philomena. How long have you been running marathons?
Robertson: I ran my first marathon in November 2011 and since then I’ve completed 20 marathons in various states across the US and a couple in the Caribbean. In fact, there was year, November 2015 to November 2016, when I completed 15 marathons. It still amazes me that I was able to do that, but I think completing that journey speaks to my silent determination to achieve whatever I set out to. It is the same persistent determination that the children helped by Reach Within are encouraged to have as they strive to overcome their challenges.
Clarke: What’s your main motivation for running marathons?
Robertson: It was actually a news article I read back in 2011 about a firefighter who ran the Chicago Marathon on behalf of a charity. At the same time, I was living outside of Grenada and that got me wondering if there were any charities affiliated with marathons that benefitted a cause in Grenada. I did some research and came across Reach Within. I contacted them, secured a spot for the NYC Marathon and the rest in history. Since then, I have run the New York Marathon 5 times, and on each occasion, it was in support of Reach Within and their work with disadvantaged children in Grenada. Apart from supporting Reach Within when I run the NYC, completing marathons for me, represents a test of my own willpower. A journey of 26.2 miles is no easy feat and every time I complete that journey, it provides me with proof of what I’m truly made of – a silent, but relentless determination, matched by an unwavering persistence to finish what I started. As I cross every finish line, I feel this indescribable and unmatched sense of accomplishment, because I endured, I persevered and eventually, I triumphed.
Clarke: Can you tell us how the kids/teens of Reach Within inspire you?
Robertson: There are many success stories within the Reach Within programme. It is inspiring how some of the kids overcome difficult circumstances, and in many cases, refuse to let these circumstances define them. I admire that and when I run, I am energised by the sheer determination they display every day.
Clarke: What message do you have for the young adults of Reach Within?
Robertson: I would tell them to just continue pressing on. Challenges in life are inevitable and some of us face more challenges than others, but it does not mean that these challenges are insurmountable. You may be born into particular circumstances or you may have unfortunate experiences early in life, but don’t let that determine what or who you think you can be. Anything is possible if you go with God, with confidence, with determination and a willingness to fight for what you believe.
With degrees in both media and international relations, Robertson is a well-travelled and accomplished professional who started her career as a broadcast journalist at the Grenada Broadcasting Network and has worked in Public Relations for the past 12 years. She is also a mom and grand-mom, but prefers the term, ‘glamma’. She has plans to write 2 books and complete the Marathon Majors, a series of 6 of the largest marathons in the world. However, when asked to describe herself Robertson also said very simply, “I’m just a girl who loves running.”
The run will start at the westward facing bridge near the Grenada National Stadium; continuing through the town of St. George, the Carenage, Port Highway and on to Grand Anse, Grand Anse Valley, Woodlands, Calivigny, Westerhall and Red Gate. The turnaround point will be in front of the Mas Camp building in Bailles Bacolet.
The return loop will be the same, except for the addition of 2 bits in Grand Anse – the section of the Maurice Bishop Highway between the Sugar Mill and True Blue roundabouts and also the Morne Rouge loop. The run will continue through Grand Anse, Port Highway and the Carenage, ending at the same bridge near the stadium. Run is scheduled to start at 4:30 am.
You can support Philomena’s marathon run by going to https://charity.gofundme.com/o/en/campaign/10for10reachwithin. Donate $10 and get 10 friends to join you. Together we can make a difference! You can also find out more at www.reachwithin.org
NOW Grenada is not responsible for the opinions, statements or media content presented by contributors. In case of abuse, click here to report.