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Local Runner Makes Bigger Strides

Chris Graff is a professional runner who has found success in doing what he loves.

Chris Graff is a professional runner who is making his home in Rosslyn. He and his wife are originally from Brooklyn. He lived in the D.C. area from 1998-2002. He ran the Army 10 miler this past Oct. 2 and unofficially placed first. It was unofficial because there was a suspicious package found under the 14th St. bridge, which changed the route of the race.. Chris will run the New York Marathon on Nov. 6. His running is sponsored by Asics.

Q. When did you start running?

A. I have been running forever. It started when I was in high school. I went out for the high school track team to see if I could be any good at it. I was a soccer player for awhile, but I was better at getting to the ball then playing with it, so I thought running would be a good thing to try. I thought I would give it a shot and see what happens.

Q. Why do you keep running?

A. I run for the fun of it. I liked working pretty hard at it. Running is a sport, and like all sports, if given the right amount of time, a person will become good at it. It is a sport where I don't have to grow up. Running is like what you do on the weekends for fun. I just happen to have my fun seven days a week. Running is something that I enjoy doing.

Q. What were some of the interesting runs that you have had?

A. My first marathon was the New York Marathon in which I did not finish. I found that I overdid my training and was not able to complete the race. I did, however, run in the 2004 Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif. I placed fifth in the 10,000 meters and the cut-off point was third place. I ran in the 2003 U.S. National Marathon Championships in Birmingham and I ran a conservative 2:18. I have also run races in Ireland, Spain, London, Northern Ireland, Portugal and Japan.

Q. What does your wife think about the seriousness of your running?

A. We have known each other forever. She was a member of the high school track team, so she understands more about running than a lot of people. She understands the different workouts that I will do during training and I don't have to explain a lot to her because she has been through it. However, she is not a serious runner; she runs to get a workout, not to be a serious competitor.

Q. When you found out that you were being re-routed during the Army 10-Miler, what went through your head?

A. When I was running I ran into a press truck and asked if they knew where to go. They shrugged their shoulders saying they had no idea. So I started running and ran into 1000s of people that were running the opposite way. I realized that this wouldn't work, so I ran onto a grass hill to see what would happen and see what I could find out. Someone told me that the starting line was going to be turned into the finish line and just to head back to the beginning. As I was running, I realized, that since I lived here before and knew the area, the runners behind me did not know which way to go. Since I was in first place at this point and knew where I was going and the others didn't, I couldn't lose.

Q. If someone is interested in starting to run, what advice would you give him/her?

A. If I was talking to a person who wanted to run to get some exercise, I would say that the person needs to start off conservative. He or she cannot think that he/she needs to push him/herself. You should feel a good kind of tired, feel refreshed after a run, not like you cannot do anything after a run. You need to feel good about what you are doing. If I were to talk to someone who wanted to become more serious about running, maybe try and be professional I would tell him/her to have a plan - that plan should include what he/she needs to accomplish. He/she also needs to set a goal, which should be included in the plan. The main thing is to keep yourself from getting injured. That is half the battle.

<ro>Stats

<lst>Birthdate: Oct. 5, 1975

Running timeline: Ran in high school and at St. John's University

Status: Married for four years

Favorite Movie: anything with Paul Newman, Braveheart, Dead Poets Society: and classic Belushi Movies

Favorite Music: anything depending on mood

Favorite Books: Likes to re-read the classics