Get to know…Helen Block

For this week’s chosen club member we are joined by one of the smiley-est (if there is such a word) members of Arena 80. Helen moved to Brighton from her university in Liverpool 21 years ago and now lives with her partner Kirsty. Helen initially worked in a seafront hotel for 3 years before training to be a Science teacher at Sussex (admin says: Arena seems to have a lot members who are teachers! I wonder if running de-stresses their days). Any free-time Helen has then she spends it running, watching sport, reading books and planning my next meal. So Helen Block over to you…
Name: Helen Block
1. When and why did you join Arena:
Last year June 2017 I joined Arena. I was looking for some help in getting a tiny bit better. I’d been stuck on a 22 min 5k for ages. I knew a few Arena runners from Hove Prom parkrun where I am part of the core team so knew it was a great club to be involved with. 
2. How long have you been running:
I started running consistently in February 2012, I was on holiday and saw a chap run past as I was looking out of the window at sunrise. He was my inspiration to start running again after a fairly long hiatus. 
3. Where did you grow up:
In Enfield, North London with my parents and Stoke Newington in East London with my gran. 
4. When and where were you happiest: 
In Brighton in 2004 when I first met my partner. 
5. What do you do for fun:
Fun for me is usually food orientated and planning dinner is my number one hobby (excluding running of course that’s a given). Cooking and eating out with friends are my favourite things as well as watching sport of any kind (motor sport excluded).
6. Name 3 things you couldn’t live without (excl family):
Still taking running/sport as a given and say books, coffee and naps. 
7. Who would you choose to be marooned on a desert island with:
My partner Kirsty. 
8. What are your 3 favourite apps on your phone: 
Sky Sports, WhatsApp, Twitter 
9. Who is your sporting hero:
I watch a lot of football and my team is Leyton Orient. A player called Elliott Omozusi played for us but he unfortunately got caught up in gang violence in East London.  He was given a custodial sentence for involvement in a crime. Since his release from prison he has worked in the east London community educating young people about helping themselves to avoid getting into the situation he did. So while not exactly a hero I think he is doing something very necessary. 
10. What kids TV programme do you remember growing up with: 
Grange Hill – unforgettable TV
11. Where’s your favourite hangout place:
The Geese and The Independent are great Hanover pubs 
12. What’s the last concert or gig that you went to:
Father John Misty at the Brighton Dome, highly recommended for a bit of political and comedic lyric writing 
13. Is there anything you hope to achieve in the next 5 years:
Running wise I’m 4 seconds off a sub 22 min 5k and 4 minutes off a sub 4 hour marathon so those would be nice. 
14. What type of music do you like most:
I like music that has good lyrics like PJ Harvey, Prince, John Grant, Radiohead, First Aid Kit. 
15. What’s something we don’t know about you:
I played a football final at Wembley Arena in The Metropolitan Police 5 a side London wide competition in 1988. Lost 2-1 against our nemesis team grrrr. 
16.. What’s the last photo you took on your phone:
A tea cosy my mum knitted for me 
17. What is the last film you saw at the cinema: 
Black Panther – not my usual thing but absolutely loved the strong female characters in it 
18. What was the first song you ever purchased:  
Wham Wake Me Up Before You Go Go
19. What’s the best thing about living in Brighton:
The best things about living in Brighton are the sea, the South Downs, independent shops and restaurants and being around mostly likeminded people 
20. What one thing are you most excited about in 2018:
A trip to Canada in July I cannot wait to see the islands off Vancouver and the glorious national parks. 
Our biggest thanks to Helen for her Q&A’s this week and we hope that you feel that you have now got to know Helen a little better. Check back next Wednesday for another set of Q&A’s with our chosen club member