Q&A with Roger Robinson

Roger Robinson, 80, was born in Birmingham, England, and raised in suburban London. He obtained scholarships to an academic high school and then attended Cambridge University, graduating with an M.A. and PhD in English. Seeking a less urban environment and more opportunity, he moved to New Zealand. He taught English at the University of Canterbury. At age 35 he became a full professor at Victoria University of Wellington where he spent most of his career. Highly regarded as a teacher, he also became Dean and Academic Vice Chancellor. Always a scholar, he wrote scores of articles and wrote or edited books, mostly concerning 19th century English novels.

His passion for words is similarly reflected in his many articles for Running Times and Runner’s World and books on running. His latest book, When Running Made History, was published in 2018 and is his best. It may be one of the best running books you will ever read ($17.96 on Amazon). Roger was also a prominent track announcer, TV and radio commentator, and continues as a major spokesman and historian for our sport.

His passion for running began after attending the 1948 London Olympics. Thrilled and inspired by Emil Zatopek’s 10,000m victory, Roger became a life-long runner and racer, despite lacking any sprint speed or finishing kick (he was always last in any school 100m trial). However, he developed a prowess as the years rolled (ran) by, representing England and later New Zealand in world championships. He became an age group world-beater once he reached his forties and fifties. At age 75-plus, following a partial knee replacement, he won U.S. age-group championship races at 5K (22:16), 10K (47:38), and a 1:46:57 half marathon. At 78 he had a total knee replacement on the other knee and is now working hard to get back to running and racing. He has some serious targets once he makes his debut in his new age group.

He is married to Kathrine Switzer, the first registered female to run the Boston Marathon. Switzer continued to be a notable racer and she continues to be a major force in promoting women’s running and racing. Roger and Kathrine divide their time between New Zealand and the Hudson Valley in New York State. Roger is the proud father of two sons, Tom and Jim, and grandfather to William, Maria, and Sophie, all New Zealanders.

For more, click on and enjoy July OTC Newsletter

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