5 Things You Should Know About Me: Ben St. Lawrence

May 09, 2012 at 10:00am EST | by Barbara Huebner, NYRR News Service

As a high school runner in his native Australia, Ben St. Lawrence was national caliber. As a collegian … well, as a collegian, St. Lawrence decided to take a year off from running and enjoy his college social life. The year turned into two, then three. His weight ballooned as he worked in a bar six nights a week and then partied hard on the side for good measure. It took a trip to the 2006 Commonwealth Games to inspire a comeback, and five years of hard work to execute it: In March of 2011, St. Lawrence ran a personal best 13:10.08 to become Australia’s second-fastest 5000-meter runner in history, behind only Craig Mottram, and two months later broke the national record for 10,000 meters when he ran 27:24.95 at the Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational. The 30-year-old has been selected to run the 10,000 meters at the 2012 Olympic Games, where no Australian man has made the final since Bill Scott did it in 1980. On Saturday, St. Lawrence--who often trains with American Bobby Curtis--will run the UAE Healthy Kidney 10K in Central Park; he ran his personal best of 28:37 in this race when he finished seventh in 2010.

  1. A reporter once asked me if the media overstated how hard I partied when I was younger.  I told him that, if anything, it was understated. I was completely off the rails. One morning I woke up with my head in a cooler in a house I didn’t know, with gravel under my lips and bruises all over my body. I thought, “What am I doing to myself?” and decided to try to become a normal person again. Not an athlete, just a normal person.
  2. One time when I got on a scale I weighed 86 kilos (about 190 pounds). I might have been even heavier before that; that’s just when I finally looked. I’m down around 64 kilos (140 pounds) now.
  3. In 2006 I was still tubby and selling cable TV subscriptions door to door in Traralgon when I went to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, about two hours away. There,  I was inspired by Craig Mottram winning a silver medal and Kerryn McCann’s sprint to win the marathon, and when I saw guys I had run against in school, like Nick Bromley, making the finals and I thought, “I was as good as they were. Maybe I should give this another go.”
  4. I went into the Stanford race last year thinking that it would take an exceptional run from me to sneak under the Olympic A standard by a few seconds, but I ended up surprising myself and quite a few others by going 20 seconds under the standard and breaking the Australian record by five seconds. This was 40 seconds faster than I had ever run.
  5. I may be 30 years old but in terms of running I’m in my mid-20s after taking all those years off. I figure I’ve got fresh legs.

 

Categories: Pro Athletes
 

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