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Prediction proves too modest for OFSAA medal winner Ben Workman
Posted: June 9th, 2013 @ 5:27pm
By CLAUDE SCILLEY
OSHAWA - Perhaps next time Ben Workman won't aim so low.
"I was kind of joking before the race that I PB'd by six seconds yesterday (in the 1,500 metres) and today is twice as long a race so I'll PB by 12 seconds today," he said Saturday afternoon.
Yes, well, good luck with that, well-wishers might have thought, chuckling at the feigned audacity, but nobody was laughing after the race, when the time that flashed beside Workman's name at the end of the junior boys 3,000 metres was actually 14 seconds faster than he'd ever run, and it was good for the bronze medal at the 64th Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations track and field championships.
When Workman saw the time, he was clearly delighted. "I knew I had it in me but I've never been able to push to what I think I'm capable of," he said.
"This was the first time."
It was a remarkable race in that so many runners remained in contention for a long time. There were still 12, half the field, in the leading group with three laps to go - Workman was among them, bouncing between fifth and seventh place - and at the beginning of the last lap the seven-man pack at the front of the field was still so tightly bunched you could have thrown a blanket and covered them all.
That's when Workman, running in fourth place, made his move. He quickly took the lead and held it until 200 metres remained, when he was passed by the runners who would ultimately win the gold and silver medals, Muhumed Sirage of London Montcalm and Braydon Rennie of Erindale in Mississauga.
Running the entire race within a crowd was an interesting development, Workman said, and he was thankful to have had the experience of running in packs in his last two 1,500-metres races.
"In a race like that where they went out really fast off the start, I wasn't expecting it," he said. "There were people everywhere. The whole race there were people going in and out, and in and out.
"If you don't know how to run in that it can be quite stressful. You have to keep your cool because if you get running around all over the place, it can waste a lot of energy. You have to pay attention to what's going on around you and try to keep an even pace without wasting too much effort."
To be able to do that with others swirling around him, Workman said, meant blocking it out to a point, but not to the point of becoming oblivious.
"They were kind of doing circles and I was trying to keep going straight as much as possible," he said. "You do have to be wary of what's going on in front of you because there are times, there was one point Braydon Rennie was up there and I knew he could push the pace and if he got away there that would be the end."
Workman said he likes to push the pace with 400 metres remaining in a race but when he did that in the final of the 1,500 metres Friday, he got passed by a group of runners and finished sixth in a race he'd led for most of the way.
"As I was nearing 200 (metres to go) they got me and then a whole bunch of people passed me," he recalled. "I was basically treading water the last 200. So today the plan was to push from 400 and then when I got to 200, attack it again."
It wasn't enough for Workman to catch the leaders, but it as enough to make his spot in third place secure.
"I knew I was third. I had no idea where the people behind me were," he said. "It didn't seem like they were as close behind as they'd been in other races but I didn't want to risk it."
At that point, Workman said, his legs at first started feeling "kind of like jelly," then, he said, he couldn't feel them at all.
"It was kind of scary how you couldn't feel them," he said. "I was definitely more out of breath than I was all year. It was good to actually push myself to that point."
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