Roger Black - Biography
One could say that Roger Black MBE, who was born in 1966, started racing before he even came into this world. Born 32 minutes before his twin sister, Roger was often one pace ahead of the rest. Roger attended Portsmouth Grammar School where he aspired to become a doctor, like his father. Whilst Roger enjoyed sport as a young lad, he never thought he would build a career out of it, particularly when he found out, aged just 11, that he had a leaking heart valve, a condition that has stayed with him to this day.
Sport became increasingly important to Roger over the years and, whilst he never joined a club or trained seriously as a teenager, it was when he failed to gain a place at Medical School after messing up his Maths ‘A’ Level, that he joined Southampton Athletics Club to train with Olympians Kriss Akabusi and Todd Bennett. The rest, as they say, is Olympic and Great British History.
Roger went on to become the European Junior 400m Champion in 1985, retook his Maths ‘A’ Level and pursued a degree in Medicine at Southampton University. After his first term though, Roger realised he wasn’t destined to wear a white lab coat and that the running track was calling. Roger says of himself that he always gave 100% but wasn’t overly competitive. Yet, aged 19, and now as one of Britain’s best 400m runners, athletics became his passion.
In 1986, Roger became the Commonwealth and European 400m Champion and British Record Holder. Despite suffering many injuries and setbacks throughout his career, Roger finally achieved his dream of standing on the Olympic rostrum, winning the 400m silver medal behind the great Michael Johnson in Atlanta in 1996. Another highlight of Roger’s sporting career was being part of the legendary 1991 World Championships’ 4 x 400m relay in Tokyo with fellow team-mates Kriss Akabusi, John Regis and Derek Redmond. These spirited GB runners took a gamble by sending Roger out first. They were up against the dominant US and knew they had to pull out all the stops to win. And win they did, through the best of British teamwork.
Having retired from athletics in 1998, Roger has become a popular speaker and television personality and owner of Roger Black Fitness. He has built up a respected training and performance business BackleyBlack with fellow Olympian, Steve Backley OBE, as well as a property training brand, Perform in Property. In 2020, Roger and Steve also created an online personal development programme called Mindsetting.
Roger lives in Guildford with his wife Jules and children Max, George and Isabelle. To keep fit and healthy, Roger goes for a short jog with Jules most days or uses his Roger Black Fitness Gold Bike or Rower, for variety.
The Roger Black Fitness online shop launch in 2021 takes Roger back full circle to his fitness roots, based on a fundamental desire to help people of all ages and backgrounds keep moving and enjoy getting fit – not just for the physical benefits but also for positive mental health and wellbeing.