A running club quite unlike any other.
Words & Photography Adam Bryce
Video Grave Runners
When I was younger, I would run a lot. Initially because an injury had put an end to my sporting career and it was innate in me to exercise after years of competing at such a competitive level. What was rehabilitation quickly became a new challenge — running daily, pushing myself to run longer, run faster, to complete marathons. Running became a filler for my competitive nature.
I would run alone. It became a place of solace, a time to think and, in many ways, it sparked creativity in me. Running helped me take a passion for art and fashion and transform it into a career.
The more I ran, the more I would notice the same people. We would smile or nod as we ran past each other. I would sometimes get invited to run with others but I never felt comfortable. Just because we ran at a similar level didn’t mean we would be compatible running buddies. The others were normally older and had good jobs. I was a fashion student who hung out with art school kids and never imagined myself to have a normal job.
Grave Runners is a running group for those who don’t feel like they belong in a running group.
An old friend of mine, Aaron Bondaroff, always referred to his scene as “for the weirdos and dirtbags” and, when I met with Grave Runners founders, Connor and Logan the sentiment was the same, “even dirtbags need to go for a run.” Their ethos instantly made sense to me and I wanted to run again.
A feeling of belonging is one of the biggest motivators one can find. A feeling of knowing others feel like you is a comforter for anyone suffering from mental health issues. Connor and Logan started Grave Runners after discovering that running was a positive force in dealing with their own mental health issues. Motivating each other to run in order to find post-exercise mental clarity made such an impact and they knew it could be beneficial to others.
The pair describe the initiative as a digital motivator. Through Instagram, they’re able to help motivate like-minded individuals to run. It’s simple really, they make running cool. And as Grave Runners picks up in popularity they want to ensure the message is clear — this is not about running, it’s about mental health. Whether you can run 10 kms or 100 metres, you can join in or simply sit and chat.
INDEX’s round up of art and culture events on the New Zealand calendar.
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12/DEC – 20/DEC
19/NOV – 19/DEC
9 – 23/DEC
11/DEC – 13/FEB
2 – 23/DEC
26/NOV – 20/DEC
25/NOV – 19/DEC
28 – 29/NOV
15 – 28/NOV
5/NOV – 5/DEC
24/OCT – 24/JAN
6 – 21/NOV
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