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.
“Our races are to our sport what Wimbledon and the Australian, U.S., and French Opens are to tennis, and what the Masters, U.S., and British Opens and PGA Championship are to golf. Each race has the history, the tradition, the honor roll of legendary champions, and a special place in the eyes of all to make them stand apart from the other events.” Mary Wittenberg