Robert Blevins was my friend. Robert got me started running back in 1995. When I met Robert, he was a marathoner for the US Army marathon team. I was a fat preacher, 60 lbs. overweight, and so out of shape I couldn’t run a block.
Robert encouraged me to start running. He explained the “how to’s” of running to me. Six months later and 40 lbs. less, I ran my first road race. It was a 10k that I’ll never forget. After asking Robert about a million race questions, Robert wished me luck, and I drove to Amarillo by myself to run my first race.
I remember being so nervous in that first race that I was sick to my stomach. About the time I was thinking, “I can’t do this,” I rounded the corner of my first mile and looked up. There was Robert standing there with his camera, taking pictures of me. As I ran by, he encouraged me with “Keep it up. You’re doing great!” At every mile marker, Robert would drive ahead and be waiting to take pictures and encourage me. Thanks to Robert, I completed my goal on my first race of not stopping or walking even once. The next morning at church Robert presented me with a photo album of all my running pictures.
That was Robert. My friend and always the encourager at the mile-markers of my life. I did Robert’s funeral on December 11, 2005. It was a sad day in my life. I miss him and think of him often when I run. My goal is to be a Robert in the lives of others and to encourage them with “Keep it up. You’re doing great!”
Thank you Robert for giving me the gift of running.