College of Medicine Student Wins Little Rock Half Marathon

By Ben Boulden

It was his third time competing in the race and his first win.

Robbie Kiss

Robbie Kiss

“The race took off pretty quickly,” Kiss said. “I saw a gap between my place and the second runner. I thought, ‘At this point, I just need to carry through.’ The second runner was 10 seconds behind me. I knew it was going to be a time trial. After that I was scared to look back. I kept my head down and pushed through.”

Kiss, a Fort Smith native, beat 2,295 other finishers with a time of 1:15:29.5.

His parents in Fort Smith are runners, and Kiss himself ran cross country in high school and then for one season in college. During his first two years as a medical student, he stopped running, but picked it up again in his third year.

“It was a relief from studying, and I got into the competitive aspect of it, too,” Kiss said. “I started coaching myself and noticed I was getting faster in a structured program. Over time, I got into cycling and cross-trained. It naturally evolved into triathlons.”

His real focus is on competing in a triathlon, the IronMan Gulf Coast in May in Panama City Beach, Florida. Running in the Little Rock Marathon was part of his training for that. Kiss also has run one other half marathons as well as two full marathons, one in Memphis and another in San Francisco.

He said the San Francisco race was so grueling, and he was so exhausted in second half, that he hardly remembers it.

Kiss said he never expected to win the half marathon in Little Rock. For him the training for triathlons and running are about work-life balance.

“For me, it’s just fun. Medicine is the work passion I have. I enjoy patients and being with kids. With running and triathlons, I know the next day I can go into the hospital and be content and happy with who I am. I am better at work when I am able to run.”

Many other UAMS students, residents and team members also participated in the Little Rock Marathon events this year.

“We had a lot of classmates come out to cheer, too. It was a nice community of support out there. It couldn’t have been a better day, such a fun time,” Kiss said.