AW spoke with Ben Greenwood who broke the UK under-17 indoor 800m record this winter
Ben Greenwood started 2015 in flying form, winning the England Athletics under-17 indoor 800m title in a UK age group record of 1:51.62, a time that is two-and-a-half seconds quicker than his best prior to 2015. Add to that an improvement of 10 seconds to clock 3:55.5 over 1500m and it is clear the 16-year-old is in the form of his life approaching the outdoor season.
Having won England Athletics under-15 indoor and outdoor titles two years ago, together with numerous Scottish titles, the Perth Strathtay athlete is no stranger to success, but this year has seen the talented teenager win all his 800m races including England Athletics under-17, Scottish under-17 and Scottish Schools’ titles, together with victory in the Scottish under-17 1500m.
“I’ve become a lot more confident in races. I struggled with a lot of lactic acid during races in 2014 so I was almost afraid of getting into that zone early and suffering because of it. I’m also feeling a lot happier overall and confident in what I can achieve,” explains Ben, speaking of his improvement.
Having run within one second of his PB from last year with his 1:54.70 in the Scottish under-17 Championships, Ben was always targeting the UK record in the England Athletics Championships, but he admits that he surprised even himself with the manner in which he achieved it. “I’ve always believed I can run fast and I’m super competitive, which drives me towards wanting to be the best.
“I had planned to go for the record in Sheffield, but I thought I could scrape the record if all went perfectly. I think my reaction in the Vinco Sport video showed just how shocked I was. To run that time indoors was incredible and a major shock,” reveals Ben.
Reflecting on the race, he adds: “I knew I had a strong finish so I decided to try and make the race even with a big last lap. I came through 600m bang on and gave it absolutely everything on the last lap.”
“I’ve become a lot more confident in races. I’m also feeling a lot happier overall and confident in what I can achieve”
Riding high after his success, the ambitious youngster is aiming high for the outdoor season. “My goals for 2015 are to qualify for the World Youth Championships and the Commonwealth Youth Championships. I want to test myself against the best in the world and see just how fast I can go,” explains Ben.
Coached by Catriona Tavendale, Ben trains five times a week in Perth, including a gym session and long run. Ben is quick to credit his initial introduction into the sport for motivating him to continue training.
He feels winning both the Perth and Kinross schools’ cross country and the Scottish primary schools’ cross country in 2009 were important in making him realise the potential for what he could achieve.
He also praises his present training partner Sol Sweeney for making him work hard on the grass in the winter months, but he always looks forward to training in the summer. “My favourite sessions are the summer track ones because I love running fast,” he reveals.
Running is clearly a family affair for the Greenwoods, as Ben’s sister Ashleigh also enjoys athletics and the whole family runs to keep fit.
You can find further performance stats on Ben on Power of 10 here.
» Support young athletes via the Ron Pickering Memorial Fund, see rpmf.org.uk