October 21, 2010 | by by ingrid skjong | Talk of the Town
Robin Quivers, perhaps best known as co-host of The Howard Stern Show, decided that this was the year she would tackle a marathon—all 26.2 miles of it. She also decided that her ING New York City Marathon trek on November 7 should further more than just her overall health. Under the aegis of her 15 Foundation, her participation will benefit Family Cook Productions and The Sylvia Center. Quivers chatted with us about her training, marathon tips and the beauty of giving back.
What inspired you to run the marathon?
ROBIN QUIVERS: I’ve been in the habit of giving myself physical challenges for years, even when I just worked out in the gym. I would put myself on a really strict exercise and eating plan for a period of time just to find out what would happen. Then I experienced some health issues that prevented me from working out at all. Those were sad years. All during that time my only goal was to be able to walk without pain again. Since I’ve experienced this miraculous recovery, I just wanted to see how much this body could do.
What have you learned from this experience?
I really want to stress that I’ve never been a runner, so to take this on in any way is amazing to me. At first I couldn’t get beyond three miles. I’ve learned that I don’t get runner’s high and I’ve given up on the idea that I’m going to tap into some hidden reservoir of athletic talent. But most importantly, I’ve learned that even when it doesn’t feel good I can still achieve what I set out to accomplish.
15 Foundation: What made you want to give back?
I knew there were a lot of people who have figured out successful solutions to some of the problems we face today. I wanted to do what I could to bring awareness to those people and organizations and to help raise money for them if I could. The cofounder of 15, Brendan Murphy, and I decided to focus on children and education because we feel it’s the key to truly transforming lives. In the process of investigating what’s happening in the various communities in which we’ve worked, we’ve discovered some really amazing and dedicated people. But there’s nothing more rewarding than meeting the young people who’ve been touched by the programs we’ve supported.
It sounds like this is all very close to your heart.
I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the helping hand extended to me by many people when I was growing up, so giving back comes naturally. I’ve always volunteered. I was a Big Sister and I’ve served on the board of charities and raised money for causes I supported. The 15 Foundation was a reaction to what I saw going on in the media and in politics. We only hear about what’s not working, and I had become very cynical. One day I woke up and realized it’s not just the job of politicians and the media to make the country what I want it to be. It’s my job, too. My ambitions for 15 are lofty. One day I would like it to be a self-sufficient organization dedicated to the education and betterment of children around the world. I’d like it to be a resource for people with great ideas and an emblem of what can be done when you set your mind to it.
Family Cook Productions and The Sylvia Center are perfect picks for the marathon to benefit.
I transformed my own life by changing my diet. As a result, I gained a new awareness and respect for food. I’m also aware of just how much the way we eat and how we learn about food has changed in my lifetime—and the results haven’t all been good. I wanted my run to be about raising awareness about the importance of nutrition and exercise, and I found that both these organizations were founded to address those issues.
Is there one essential marathon-training tip you hold to?
Preparation is everything. That means wearing the right clothing, having the right shoes, being well-hydrated, eating right and carrying the right kind of fuel with you on the run. Oh, and music helps too.
Have you and Howard ever gone on a run together?
It happened one day sort of by accident. We both run in the park but we usually don’t start at the same time. I’ve seen him out there either finishing or just starting, but on this particular day he was alone and I had another mile and a half to go so he joined me until I was done. It was fun, but I’m not a fast runner and I don’t want to slow anyone down.