category : ‘RITZ Contributors in the News’



Roger in full flight

I was thrilled a few days ago, to receive a notice about a new book of the same title as this post.  To those familiar with running (the doing) and writing (about it) the name Robinson will be quite familiar.  Roger, among his many other credits is a contributor to Running in the Zone, both the original book and this blog – just a matter of days ago, as it happens.  When I first saw the title and handsome cover, my first thought was that Roger had published something of a memoir.  On further inspection and communication with the man himself, I learned that the book is ABOUT Roger and written and published BY his many friends from both his professional career and his life as a runner and writer on that topic.  The best way to introduce this book is to just quote from the release I received.

Running Writing Robinson

Edited by David Carnegie, Paul Millar, David Norton & Harry Ricketts 

Roger Robinson, Emeritus Professor of English, has been honoured by his wide circle of close friends and admirers from the worlds of elite distance running, sports journalism, creative writing, academia and many others with the publication of Running, Writing, Robinson by Victoria University Press.

Edited by colleagues in the School of English, Film, Theatre, and Media Studies, the volume has over fifty contributors, ranging from Lorraine Moller and Roger’s own son Jim among the runners, Tim Chamberlain and Lynn McConnell among the journalists, Fiona Kidman and Joy Cowley among the creative writers, Patrick Evans and Lawrence Jones among the academics, and Mike Hill, Phillip Mann, and Jeremy Commons among former colleagues at Victoria University Wellington.

Anne Else read the poem with which that her late husband, Harvey McQueen, saluted Roger in the book, including lines that acknowledge Roger’s service to both running and university:

            I recall gyroscopic feet pounding

            track & pavement, mile stretching to

            marathon, athlete’s gossip, speaker’s

            rostrum, announcer’s microphone

                                    * * *

            Unsung, the diplomatic bureaucrat

            weaving easily through university,

            educational & public service politics

Another contributor and colleague, Stephanie Pietkiewicz, was quoted at the launch for her reminder of Roger as a teacher and writer as well as a runner: “He opened the lecture. . . . His objective not merely to get to the destination, but to show us meaning’s journey through language. This was no mere intellectual examination; it was textual cross-country. . . . His writing pulls you into its pace, all slow acceleration or sudden surge, unput-downable, unstoppable till the very last full stop.”

Made up of memoirs, tributes, poems, running essays and literary essays this book will please anyone who shares Roger’s love of running, writing and fascinating people.

Even the few words of the release information will create an appetite among those who know Roger’s career from any of the many obvious perspectives mentioned.  Just to be clear, Roger is still very much with us.  Most people never get to read such writings about themselves as they seldom get written until the subject has gone on to that “great marathon in the sky”.  No, Roger, is not only “with” us, for those in Vancouver, he will be physically with us at the beginning of May when he and Kathrine Switzer, his goodly wife, will be helping to celebrate the BMO Vancouver Marathon’s 40th Anniversary running.  Roger has a long and glorious history with the Vancouver Marathon including that in 1981 he set (and still holds) the masters event record at 2:18:45, which in that particular running was also good enough for third place overall and many years could have been good enough to take the win.

So, if you are a fan of Roger, get yourself a copy of this fine tribute, then come out and hear him speak in Vancouver (details from the marathon web site).  Maybe you can come up with some out of the ordinary questions to put to him that go beyond the usual “so what was your favorite – best –  most satisfying race?”

Congratulations Roger!