Connor is one half of Grave Runners, the local legends who are working to create a community of like minded people who enjoy running, mindfulness and taking care of their body, mind and soul. Together with fellow Grave Runners partner Logan Buchanan, the two are working to positively change the way the Tāmaki Makaurau running community approaches things!
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your relationship with running?
I started running religiously a few years ago now and never really took my foot off the pedal. In hindsight, I often reflect and wonder how I used to operate without it. I’m constantly thinking of ways I can try to generate a similar sense of release, out-do the old version of myself and continue with the pursuit of letting go of my ego.
Running is my coping mechanism, chosen sanctuary and form of meditation.
Can you tell us more about Grave Runners and how it started?
We’ve come a long way from when we initially started, Grave Runners has evolved from its formative years as have we. Fundamentally, it started with the intention to help people and keep them accountable, including ourselves. We wanted to create a safe space to allow individuals we related to to gravitate towards.
Grave Runners is a community focused initiative that encourages people to prioritise their mental and physical wellness through movement being the vessel. It breaks down barriers of running misconceptions, creating an all inclusive space fostering growth and connecting.
What would you say to someone who has never been to a GR event?
Come as you are, be open minded! Like any new community, especially in the fitness space, there can always be initial resistance or preconceived ideas, sometimes the biggest hurdle can be the one mental one. Similar to starting a run, once you have arrived, you will realise it’s not that bad, and that you actually really enjoyed it. Running can help shift your focus and gain a new perspective, this is still my "why" I get after it, to this day.
Each time a new member shows up, it makes what we are doing worthwhile and helps fill up our cup, energy is our currency, it’s a circular economy and value exchange. I can confidently say we’ve created a non discriminatory space, which spotlights the topics of mental health, suicide awareness and social isolation which I’m really proud to be a part of.
What does movement / exercise mean to you? How has it helped you?
Running, nutrition and Vitamin D does wonders for my mental health, which is basic human necessity. I’m still learning what works best for me, I’m always in search of new forms of a healthy lifestyle that I can welcome, it's a constant work in progress, the aim here is to leave no stone unturned.
The opportunities that have stemmed from prioritising something that is solely beneficial for myself as an individual first have been truly rewarding. Grave Runners is the gift that keeps giving and makes me feel like I am on the right path, it’s allowed me to find my purpose and given life more meaning.
What are the next steps for you?
We have a few calendar events coming up including our Mindful Marathon Training called “Community Service” with REMiND and FAT in the lead up to the Auckland Marathon in October.
We are also having our first international event in association with AM:PM Run Club & Kings Cross Track Club in the lead up to the Melbourne Marathon this October which is quite exciting.
Last but not least we are aiming to make a big impact this year for [mo]re than a run and Movember - Last year we were in lock down and unable to connect physically, so there’s a huge emphasis on that this year.
Keep posted on the @graverunners Instagram for more details coming soon!
Could you tell us 3 pieces of advice you would give to someone on their mental and/or physical health?
The most punk rock thing you can do is take care of yourself!
Your projection on other people is a true reflection of yourself. To serve yourself first, you can then be of better service to those around you. There's no finish line with self improvement!
Inspired people inspire other people. Stay inspired, keep inspiring