Jim Oaks, who coached Huntsville High Schools girls and boys cross country teams for 14 years, first pegged Margaret Robinson as a rising star as a 7th grader. George Fletcher, who coached both boys and girls in track at Huntsville High, saw it too. He predicted shed be a standout as early as her freshman year. The assessments of Oaks and Fletcher proved remarkably perceptive. Margaret Robinson now Margaret Robinson Lichty will always be remembered as one of the finest runners the city of Huntsville ever produced. More than 20 years later, many of her running records at Huntsville High still stand. In her four years of high school, she won 20 state championships. She won the state cross country Class 6A individual championship four years in a row. She won the state indoor 1600 meters and the state indoor 3200 all four years, and the state outdoor 1600 and 3200, too. Im very grateful to Coach Oaks and Coach Fletcher, she said. They encouraged me, taught me to set goals and increased my self-confidence. Both of them trained us to be the best we could be while also emphasizing the importance of being a good person. One time in a cross country meet against McCallie, Coach Oaks complimented their team for being well behaved, and I remember thinking, Thats what its all about not how well we ran and what our time was, but behavior, attitude, integrity. Those things were more important. Her parents, Tom and Anne Robinson, stressed the same values. Im so appreciative and grateful to the best mom and dad in the world, she said. They were so encouraging. My sport couldve been paintball and they wouldve made sure I played the best paintball that I could. I should also thank another of my coaches, Jeff Cowan, for always keeping me going when I wanted to quit. Margarets accomplishments in high school led to an athletic scholarship at the University of Arkansas, which annually turns out one of the top womens cross country and track and field programs in the country. In the last quarter-century, Coach Lance Harters Razorback teams have won 21 SEC championships 14 in cross country, four in indoor track and three in outdoor track, and seven NCAA trophies, including four national runner-up awards in cross country. I knew if I wanted to be the best runner I could be, it would mean running at Arkansas for Coach Harter, Margaret said. We won the SEC every year I was there, and finished second in the Nationals one year. I was eating, sleeping, and breathing running until my sophomore year when I realized, Im doing everything some of the other girls are doing, but Im not as good. I realized then that my future would not be as a professional runner. Ironically, thats when I got even better All-SEC, personal bests, and so forth. I thought, things need to be in Gods hands. Margaret graduated at Arkansas in 1997 with a degree in communication disorders and earned a graduate degree in the same field at Vanderbilt in 2002. Shes a former speech therapist in Atlanta and Birmingham. She and her husband, Peter Lichty, now live in Birmingham. They have two children, Anne and Charles. Her father, Tom, and his friend Gordon Murphy nominated Margaret for the Huntsville-Madison County Athletic Hall of Fame shortly before Tom died last September. Not long afterward, Margaret was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Thats the main irony of all this, she said recently. Im being awarded for being a runner, and now I can hardly walk.