Herricks music teacher runs her way to Olympic Trials

James Galloway

Herricks music teacher and elite runner Jodie Robertson’s day typically starts at 4 a.m.  

First, with a couple hours on the bike or maybe an hour or so in the pool. Then, it’s off to class, followed by a brisk 10-to-16 mile run in the afternoon. She adds in one long run on the weekend for good measure, usually between 18 and 21 miles, she said.

Bedtime is around 8:30 p.m.

“I’ve actually been doing a lot less running than I used to do,” said Robertson, who is training for her first triathlon. “I actually swim and bike a lot now, too.”

In 2012, Robertson placed 57th in the U.S. Olympic Trials marathon with a personal best of 2 hours, 42 minutes, 31 seconds.

But since then, her personal best has dropped by about eight minutes, and she is gearing up for the 2016 trials, for which she has already qualified.

So far, Robertson has the 21st fastest women’s qualifying time for the 2016 Olympic Trials, according to the USA Track and Field website. She ran the Mohawk Hudson Marathon in 2:34:22, or about 5 minutes, 52 seconds per mile for just over 26 miles.

In March, Robertson placed fourth among U.S. women and seventh overall at the Los Angeles marathon.

“I’ve never even come in the top 20 at a U.S. championship. To come in the top 10, I would have been happy with – to come in fourth was great,” she said.

But, she noted, “It kind of leaves you wanting more.”

For the 2016 trials, Robertson said she would like to improve on her 2012 performance.

“If I could run a PR (personal record), place a little higher than I did back in 2012, those would be good goals,” she said. But “as long as I keep enjoying it, I’ll keep doing it. I feel like you get more out the process than that one goal.”

Only the top three women at the trials qualify for the Olympic Team, however, something that Robertson said would be a “long shot” for her.

“To crack the top 20 this time around would be a huge feat,” she said of the Olympic Trials.

Robertson said she was not a standout in high school, though she ran cross-country and track and qualified for the state championships.

“I was one of the faster girls, but not the fastest for sure,” she said.

But at SUNY Potsdam, Robertson was named an all-American in cross-country her junior year. In 2011, the university inducted her into its athletic hall of fame.

“I think I found my niche more so in the marathon and longer distance, definitely more my strength than the shorter stuff,” she said. “I definitely like the longer stuff and have found a lot more success in that.”

A stress fracture kept Robertson on the sidelines her senior year, and for nearly three years thereafter, she said.

“I kind of dealt with that several more years when I started my running again,” she said.

Robertson said the Herricks School District has supported her throughout her training. She took a year off to train for the 2012 Olympic Trials, something not in the plans for 2016.

“It’s really nice to [teach] and train. I feel like I run better and train better when I’m busier,” she said. “I feel like I’m running faster now than I was at the Olympic trials. I feel like if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”

She added that she enjoys her day job, too, another perk to stay. Robertson teaches band lessons at the middle school and general music classes for kindergartners and first graders at Denton Avenue and Searingtown schools.

“I have a great job,” she said. “I get to sing and play music with my kids all day. They’re fabulous.”

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