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Fit, healthy and sound, Ben Workman looks forward to OFSAA

June 1, 2013


BELLEVILLE — A funny thing happened to Ben Workman on the way to the finish line Friday: He was given a free lap.

Well, not exactly. “I miscounted the laps,” he said. “I guess I was just distracted by something.”

In races of more than one lap of the track, a sign is placed at the finish line and an official clicks down the number with each successive lap. As runners pass, they are, therefore, reminded at what point they are in the race. When they begin the final lap, the official rings a bell to highlight the fact.

In the junior boys 3,000 metres at the East region qualifying meet, Workman led most of the way. “Even though I thought there were three laps to go, it seemed like that was about right,” he said, but as he approached the finish line expecting to see he had two laps left to run, the official sounded the bell instead, signaling the start of the final lap.

“It went from 3 to 1,” he said. “Maybe they forgot to switch it, but, yeah, I missed it. Then when I saw ‘1’ I was so excited, I found a new gear, I guess. I was very excited.”

Workman picked up his pace with 400 metres to go, an unusually early point in the race to do so.

“Usually I’m not so much of a kicker,” he said. “I usually get gassed in the last lap and usually don’t finish quite as strong but I finished well.”

He was rewarded with a time of 9 minutes 8.44 seconds, more than eight seconds ahead of the field. While it was almost nine seconds slower than the time with which he won at EOSSA last week, it wasn’t bad, considering the blistering heat that enveloped the track Friday.

It was a sharp contrast to the miserably cold, wet conditions that athletes were forced to endure a week ago in Brockville.

“I don’t mind the cold at all but there have been some workouts when it was really hot on the track and they were the hardest workouts I’ve ever done,” Workman said. “I think that helped a lot today, having experienced that.”

Workman said he believes he ran a smart race, resisting the temptation to match an uncommonly quick start some of his opponents apparently thought was a good idea.

“They got a little excited off the start,” he said. “Their first lap was almost as fast as the first lap in the 1,500 yesterday. I was skeptical about some of those guys, whether they could keep it up.”

Turns out they couldn’t, but Workman was happy to have had them burn themselves out.

“Despite how warm it is I didn’t really have a good warmup,” he said. “It took a while to actually get warmed up in that race.”

Headed next week for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations championships in two events — also in the 1,500 metres — Workman allowed that the possibility of winning a medal “has been playing around in my mind for about a year now.”

“Given the right race, it’s possible.”

Certainly Workman is hoping for a better experience than last year, when, plagued by a stress fracture, he barely finished his 1,500 metres race. The next day, he couldn’t complete the 3,000 metres, an event for which he was the No. 2 seed.

“That was a bit of a letdown,” he said. “This time last year I would have been limping to my car.

“This will be the first OFSAA I’ve been to where I’m shape and not sick or injured, so that’s exciting.”

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