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Marathon man doesn’t lose his marbles

Diespeker boss John Krause knows how to push himself to the extreme. The 53 year-old purveyor of all things marble completed his 100th marathon run this year.

John first started distance running when he turned 40. “I guess it was something of a mid-life crisis. It was on my bucket list to run one marathon just to prove I could, but once I completed the first race, the challenge was on for the next.”

He has now run in a number of major marathons including New York, Sydney, Toronto and Berlin, reaching his milestone 100 at this year’s London Marathon where he also raised £2,000 for teenage charity, STEM4. The feat is all the more remarkable when John admits he doesn’t actually enjoy the act of running.

“It began as a way to increase my motivation and now provides a real focus for me both in my personal life and managing the business. As an added bonus, I am passionate about five-a-side football and the running has helped to increase my stamina – if not my skills!”

John certainly needs to keep his eye on the ball with Diespeker. The marble, granite and terrazzo specialist business has been around for over 120 years, but three years ago the tough economic climate meant facing up to lower sales. “Diespeker needed a complete shake-up – so that’s what I did.”

After streamlining the company and implementing new management strategies, Krause says Diespeker is now well on the way to achieving one of its best years ever. He credits the turnaround in no small way to the drive needed for distance running.

“It seems to me that if you are in your fifties, can still square up to the 26.2 miles of a marathon and even keep improving on your running times, you can certainly apply the same effort to managing a business.”

UK business Diespeker is a force to be reckoned with for marble, granite and terrazzo materials and products, particularly with regard to bespoke designs. The firm’s Bermondsey factory is home to traditional terrazzo hand casting skills that are not widely available.

Popular in the 1970s and 80s, terrazzo is enjoying something of a renaissance, as it perfectly answers the demand for exclusive design. Hand casting enables clients to specify any combination of coloured chippings, glass or other materials –Diespeker has even created terrazzo that contains toothbrushes!

Mixing traditional skills with innovative solutions has been tantamount to the revival of Diespeker’s fortunes and, as the business goes from strength to strength, John keeps his running shoes close by his desk so he can pound the streets of South East London when he needs space for that extra bit of concentration.

“For me, running is a means to an end. I get to see the world, I can eat and drink what I like and it helps me to increase my business success. And who knows, I might even get to like it one day!”

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