Middle distance runner Ben St Lawrence already has one foot in the door of Australia’s squad for this year’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland, but has a chance in Melbourne this Saturday to cement a coveted spot.
And at 32, with one Olympic Games (London) and one Commonwealth Games (Delhi) appearance already under his belt, the Bullaburra-raised athlete believes career-best form still lies ahead of him.
“In middle distance running you build on what you did last and try to learn from your mistakes — you don’t tend to get instant success,” St Lawrence said.
“I haven’t had a year yet where everything has gone completely to plan, but if I do in 2014 I believe I’m capable of achieving career-best results.
“I feel I’ve still got improvement in me and I’m injury-free.”
St Lawrence knows all about the highs, lows and unpredictable nature of top flight track running.
Having almost set a personal best Commonwealth Games ‘A’ qualifying time (27:37:55) for the men’s 10km at a 2013 meet at Palo Alto, USA, he was struck by illness just days before that year’s World Championships.
“That was very frustrating, but having got the ‘A’ time at Palo Alto meant I’m almost certain to represent Australia in the men’s 10km at Glasgow as it’s unlikely anyone else will better that time.”
St Lawrence’s hopes of earning a second spot — in the men’s 5km — depends on improving on his ‘B’ qualifying time (13:31:56) he set in a Hobart meet on February 1.
“I was very happy to get a ‘B’ qualifying time but with that you need to then finish at least first or second in remaining qualifying meets.
“This weekend in Melbourne I’ve got a chance and my main rival will probably be Collis Birmingham — we are very similar in standard.”
After that meet, St Lawrence will head to California to compete in more races and do high altitude training before flying to Europe and London to run in the spring series.
“That will give me a few extra 5km qualifying races and should provide the ideal preparation for the Games,” he said.
“Hopefully I’ll make the team — that’s the first goal I’ve set.
“Then it’s hard to say what will be a satisfying result for me at the Games, but a top-five finish is a definite goal.”
The Commonwealth Games begins on July 23 in Glasgow, Scotland.