Graham Block has built himself a reputation in the running community as being the man who is always involved and always there to help and motivate other runners.
His passion for running developed quickly and within a year of running road races, he had entered his first Comrades Marathon. From there, he continued to look for ways to push himself and started taking on 1000km challenges. The aim of this challenge is to complete 1000km of road races (excluding training) in the year between each Comrades Marathon. Graham would then often take part in 3 different races in a weekend whenever possible. His adventurous spirit then started looking to 100 miler races in South Africa and abroad.
Graham Block’s running journey was set on a new path a few years back when health issues forced him to halt his running for some time. However he simply couldn’t stay away and rather changed his focus to supporting and motivating other runners on the road.
We asked him a couple of questions about his running journey.
What made you start running all those years ago?
I come from a mountaineering / rock climbing background. However after having kids, and that being an extreme sport and highly dangerous, endurance running became a more responsible sport to upkeep my fitness. Over time, it then evolved into a competitive sport for me.
What were your biggest running achievements?
- Accomplishing a total of thirteen 100 milers (amongst these are Sky Run, Washie, Puffer, Western States, Golden Reef)
- 5 x 1000km challenges, (earning 3 golds, 1 silver and 1 bronze)
- 2 x 500km challenges (both gold)
- Total of 10 permanent race numbers (including Sky Run, Comrades Green number, Two Oceans Blue Number, City to City, Tough One, Om Die Sam, Suikerbos)
In two years, you have managed to build one of the biggest running clubs in the country. What went into getting there?
In our years of experience, we have come to understand how influential running is to people’s personal lives. Running is a sport that filters into people’s lives and impacts them like no other with the principle of determination to make healthier choices to improve their own lifestyles. With the growth of the sport, also came an influx of increasing costs to participate in the sport. Run Zone’s fundamental vision and mission is to keep running accessible and affordable to anyone who is passionate about life and pursuing goals through the sport of running. Just as runners need consistency to achieve their goals, the club itself is consistent with its services in meeting the needs of the runner to succeed.
Your passion for the sports is undeniable and each weekend you can be seen looking after other runners on the road. What makes you give up so much of your free time for other runners?
I can honestly say that I don’t see it as giving up anything. I am pursuing my passion and my calling.
You obviously think that running is the best sport in the world (and we’d agree), what would you say to non-runners to encourage them to join us?
In today’s times, walking and running is one of the easiest, most accessible and most sociable sports to get involved with. It is also the cheapest sport to get you started on achieving basic fitness and well-being.
I think that some of the biggest challenges that society is faced with today are commitment, discipline, feeling a sense of achievement, being part of a community and identifying with self. Running is one of the few sports where all this comes together without feeling intimated. And it’s the easiest to start as most of us already have access to shorts, t-shirts and some sort of running shoes.
One of the key factors to the success of running as a sport as well as to life’s accomplishments is consistency and this sport teaches that, a highly beneficial principle to life.
From your experience, what is your biggest tip for other runners?
The key to running is the game between mind and body. The best thing to do in a marathon is get your mind off what you’re doing and focus on where you’re going. Because if you can get your mind to where you need to go, the body will follow.