Illness mars St Lawrence's tilt at World Championships

You can carefully prepare and train for most scenarios in top level sport, with two exceptions — injury or illness.

It was the latter that unexpectedly threatened to ruin Bullaburra middle distance runner Ben St Lawrence’s IAAF World Championships campaign before it even began last week, but perseverance saw him leave Moscow with something to build on.

The 31-year-old had qualified for the World Championships in two events — the 10,000m final (on August 10) which he represented Australia in at the 2012 Olympic Games in London and the 5000m heats (on August 13).

He was forced to withdraw from the 10,000m race — a big blow considering he notched his second fastest career time over that distance earlier this year at a meet in Palo Alto, California.

“I’ve been unwell since arriving into Tonbridge (Belgium, for a pre-event training camp) and the plan was to change up my prep so that I could still be ready for both my events,” he tweeted on arrival in Moscow.

“It hasn’t worked as well as hoped, so after chat with the coach and medicos, I’ve made the call to focus on being healthy for the 5000m.”

Despite such a disrupted final preparation, St Lawrence took his marks in heat two of the men’s 5000m, finishing with a respectable time of 13:33.64, missing a place in the final by less than six seconds. 

He was fastest runner in the heat after 1000m and beat his finishing time at last year’s World Championships in South Korea, but understandably couldn’t get close to his best time for 2013 (13:10.83) achieved on July 13 in Zolder, Belgium.

Although disappointed, St Lawrence — who is currently based in the United States — said he can now reset his goals to make the Australian Athletics Team for the next year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Onwards and upwards from here,” he said.

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