27 Jul, 2012

Juggling Business and Fitness

Juggling Business and Fitness

Responsible for the marketing of Nedbank and its corporate identity, all brand exposure and heading up public sponsorships, Greg Garden thrives on the challenges that his job presents. He lives a life of travelling, meeting clients, events and using new technologies to put Nedbank on the map. With a communications background, Greg enjoys finding new ways to bring Nedbank into the public sphere and lends his experience to position Nedbank as a top leader in its field. And on top of all this, Greg also serves on the board of the WWF Green Trust, and is a director of both The Marketing Association of South Africa (MASA) and The SA Audience Research Foundation (SAARF).


You’d think that someone with such a portfolio would have little time for anything else, but in between the meetings and corporate obligations, Greg makes time to keep active. He runs five days a week to keep his mind at ease, a time he says he uses to plot the day ahead. “It was not always like that for me. I turned 40 and looked in the mirror and I didn’t like what I saw. My friends were runners and they were on my case to start, but I hated the idea,” says Greg. However, a year later in 2001, Greg ran his first race in the Reebok Half (now the Dis-Chem Half Marathon) and was hooked.



To date, Greg has run three Comrades Marathons, seven Old Mutual Two Oceans ultra’s and more than 25 marathons, including international races in Boston, Paris and London. Greg embraces running and believes having fun while doing so is all part of it. Therefore, he makes sure he dresses appropriately when he runs international marathons, such as the time he wore a South African flag in the fancy-dress Medoc Marathon in France.


He treasures travelling and the memories that go with great runs. In 2010 at The London Marathon, Greg met an unlikely running partner at the 16km mark, “I was running past the crowd and everyone shouted ‘Go Gordon!’ I looked beside me and there was world-renowned chef Gordon Ramsey. We had a great chat, but at the 24-mile mark Gordon cursed me for running too fast.” Greg describes that London Marathon as incredible, but punts the 2008 Boston Marathon as his most memorable. “It was a highlight because I ran my 3:24 PB at 51 years of age, a full six minutes off my former one!”



Leading an active lifestyle needs to be backed by a healthy diet, says Greg, who lives on Low-GI foods and eats in moderation. Being a certified wine judge and collector, he feels that he can also spoil himself with more wine because he is a runner! Greg loves to spend time with his family; his wife of 26 years, Brenda, his daughter Caley and son Robin. He relaxes with his love of wine and a vast collection of eclectic music. “And in between all of the things in my life, I still sleep,” he says.


So, what about those who say they can’t fit exercise into their busy lives? “You don’t have time NOT to do it. Long-term, you will be healthier and happier. If anyone asked me what are the five best achievements in my life, I’d say my work, my marriage, my children, buying my first home and running.”