Robin Arzón’s Inspiring Story Teaches Us To Follow Our Hearts

Robin Arzón BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Robin Arzón

Reinventing ourselves may well be the superpower of Latinas by definition. Our resilience makes us capable of opening paths where others only see precipices, and we never settle for crumbs.

Robin Arzón, ultra-marathon runner, fitness expert, and Latina author who turned her life around 180 degrees and put it in motion knows this well.

BELatina had the pleasure of speaking with Robin about her story, her personal battles, and the victories that transform her into one of those Guerreras who blaze trails for everyone else — almost literally.

Trained to win

Robin Arzón was born in Philadelphia to a Cuban mother and Puerto Rican father. In her home, run by a doctor and a lawyer, where education and family were the cornerstones, sports were never in the family curriculum.

Following in her father’s footsteps, Arzón attended New York University, graduating magna cum laude. She then attended Villanova University School of Law. Inspired and encouraged by her father, Arzón worked for seven years as a litigator at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, but life had another path in store for her.

A radical change

“I was not an athlete growing up,” Robin told BELatina, “but now I live a life of sweat. I’m a reformed lawyer-turned-marathoner, marathoner, and vice president of fitness programming at Peloton.

A traumatic event in Robin Arzón’s life led her to run for the first time in her life. She had experienced a hostage situation at a wine bar in Manhattan’s East Village, and running was a way to recover from the trauma.

Before running her first 50-mile marathon, she was diagnosed as a Type 1 diabetic and had to face what many might see as condemnation.

“I had [the diagnosis] in the back of my head. I was worried — ‘Am I going to get to the finish line?’,” she recalls. “The reality is that anybody living with diabetes who is on insulin is at risk for a low blood sugar incidence.”

But instead of running away, Robin decided to run forward, and she contacted John Foley, director of Peloton, and joined the organization as an instructor. Two years later, she was promoted to vice president of fitness and programming.

From instructor to a spokesperson

Robin knows first-hand the impact of diabetes on the lives of Latinos: “Diabetes is unpredictable, but it doesn’t mean that we can’t advocate for ourselves, that we can’t continue to bet on ourselves. I think education is a huge piece of it. You have to find out what works for you,” she said.

So, between a new career and inspiration, Robin Arzón began a health and fitness career, leaving her law projects behind.

Arzón has run more than 50 races, including 25 marathons, three 50-mile ultramarathons, and one 100-mile race. She ran her first marathon, the New York City Marathon, in 2010 and once ran five marathons in five days for MS Run the US in honor of her mother, documented in the documentary Run It Out. Arzón completed her first 100-mile race in the Keys100 — a race that starts in Key Largo and finishes in Key West, Florida — in less than 30 hours in 2016.

“I was not an athlete growing up. I literally didn’t run a single mile until I was in law school, and I woke up one day and got curious. [Now I wonder] Can we get curious about our greatness? Can we finish this year stronger than how we started?”

Now, as a Latina mother with a career, Arzón wants Latinas to be prepared for whatever life throws at them.

“We are oftentimes the center of our homes. We’re leaders in our communities, and we are doing the most,” she said. “We are literally juggling everything, but you can’t do all those things unless you take care of your health. We can still model the ability to prioritize your own self-care. That is incredibly critical, especially when you’re navigating the challenges of living with diabetes.”

However, for Arzón, living with diabetes has not been an obstacle but an inspiration.

“My mother, a proud Latina, taught me that superheroes are real, and I believe that I’m paying it forward. I want folks who are engaging with us today to know that it’s possible for them too.”

The importance of movement and being prepared

For Robin Arzón, exercise is more than a hobby. “Movement is important,” she explained, “Movement is important for our mental health, for our physical health, and is also a form of medicine.”

In addition to Peloton, Arzón co-founded the fitness movement, Undo Ordinary, and the print publication Undo Magazine. She is a global ambassador for Adidas and is a certified running coach with the Road Runners Club of America.

Today, Robin is the spokesperson for the Be Ready campaign by Xeris Pharmaceuticals and hopes to light the fire for others to become warriors in the pursuit of their best life with diabetes by fueling the conversation about self-care.

Robin Arzón Pen BELatina Latinx
Photo courtesy of Robin Arzón.

When asked what her message is for other Latinas, Robin Arzón doesn’t mince words: “We got this; you know? We have always been told what we need or require to pivot in so many ways. But there’s always a possibility to rise above, especially when we educate and arm ourselves.”