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  • Eleanor Connolly

"I like to use my success in running as a platform for memes": Interview with Graham Blank

Graham Blanks running in the 2018 cross country state championship. Graham won the Class A Private race with a time of 16 minutes 31:89 seconds. Photo from the Oconee Enterprise.

Eleanor Connolly: What do you think about when you’re running?

Graham Blanks: Nothing. Occasionally I’ll think about homework I have to do or whatever happened that day.

Eleanor: Did you start running track because you liked it or because you were good at it?

Graham: A little bit of both. Soccer was always my favorite sport but I realized I was more gifted at running. So, I ran an indoor meet to try track out and I loved it. That day I decided to quit soccer and focus on running.

Eleanor: Why do you always change into that 3rd amendment t-shirt after meets?

Graham: I like to use my success in running as a platform for memes. I know if I win a race or run a fast time and I get in the papers, I want to make sure I have a funny shirt on, such as my 3rd Amendment shirt or my “You Know I Had To Do It To ’Em” shirt.

Eleanor: What advice do you have for younger runners?

Graham: Make sure you don’t get injured; take care of your body and stretch.

Eleanor: Do you have a pump-up playlist and if so, what’s on it?

Graham: I listen to alot of CCR, Rolling Stones, and John Mellencamp when I run.

Eleanor: What’s the weirdest thing you've ever seen during a race?

Graham: I saw a bear. Just kidding. But one time during a race one of those blow-up bean bags flew onto the track and took a kid out running beside me.

Eleanor: Speaking of bears...Do you think that you can outrun a bear?

Graham: According to Google, bears can run up to 25 mph. So unfortunately if I try to outrun a bear, I’m probably going to get mauled.

Look at those cute lil grizzly bears! Photo from National Park Service.

Fact Check: Graham Blanks is Right. According to

“Do Not Run. You can’t outrun a bear so don’t even try. Despite rumors to the contrary, black and grizzly bears can outrun a human on ANY terrain, uphill or down. People will tell you that you should run downhill when chased by a grizzly. This is simply a myth—don’t try it!

Try to retreat slowly. Back up slowly and try to put more space between you and the bear. Talk calmly so that it can identify you as human, and slowly back up. Keep your backpack on, as it can provide protection if necessary. Don’t make direct eye contact, but keep a close look at the bear as you back away.”