Ben True, Sixth place, World XC, the RBR Interview, by Larry Eder

On March 24, 2013, Ben True put together one of those dream races in a distance runner's life, and took sixth in the World Cross Country Championships. On a tough course, with cold, snow, a tough hill and terrible footing, True, along with Chris Derrick, finished in the top ten and lead the US team to the silver medal, and a huge upset of the Kenyan WC team, which finished third. 

Ben True is a distance coach's dream, with a background in cross country skiing, cross country running and track and field. Last year, in 2012, Ben ran Personal bests at 3,000m (7:44.1), 5,000m (13:20), and 10,000m (27:41). 

We sent Ben the questions two days ago, and in between flights and hopefully, taking the time to enjoy the race of his life, Ben True answered RBR's seventeen, well in his case, eighteen questions! hopes that Ben True has more races of his life! That 10,000m PB should come down big time this year! 

Ben True, 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials, 10,000m, 
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 Ben True, 2003, FootLocker NE Regional, 

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RBR, # 1. How did you get started in the sport?

Ben True: I began running in elementary school with the local rec program.  At the time, my dad was training for the Boston marathon, so I wanted to start running like him.


Ben True, 2003 FootLocker, 2 miles, 

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RBR, # 2. What was your high school experience in sports like?

Ben True: In high school I competed in both running and cross-country skiing, but would play any sport I could in my free time.  As long as I was outside and being active I was happy.


Ben True, FL 2003, photo by

RBR, # 3. What were your best marks in high school?

Ben True: I ran 4:13 in the mile and was a two-time top ten finisher at the Footlocker National Championships.


Ben True, 2003 NB Maine Distance Classic, 

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RBR, # 4. If you could do anything over in college experience, what would that be?

Ben True: Nothing.  While I was never able to fully reach my potential in either sport (running or Nordic skiing), I don't think I could have fully committed to one sport without being able to competitively race in both sports throughout college.


Ben True, 2003 NB Maine Distance Classic, 

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RBR, # 5. What were differences between high school and college track for you?

Ben True: High school track was more about having fun than actual training.  In college I was able to see how you are suppose to train to succeed and learned that I had to put the work and effort in to be able to see results.


Ben True, 2008 Beach to Beacon, 

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RBR, # 6. What were your biggest experiences in college track?

Ben True: In college my fondest athletic memories were actually in skiing- with leading Dartmouth to a NCAA national championships in 2007 and three trips to the U23 World Championships.  For running, the time I broke the 4 minute-mile stands out as a great achievement, as it was a first for a Dartmouth athlete.


Ben True, 2008 Beach to Beacon, 

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RBR, # 7. How did you go pro?

Ben True: After college I had to make a decision between running and skiing and decided to see how far I could take my running.  I went out to train in Eugene with a post-colligiate program.  I wouldn't say I officially "went pro" until I signed a running contract with Saucony at the end of 2011.


Ben True, Sam Chelanga, BAA 5k, 2012, 

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RBR, # 8. What is biggest differences between pro and elite amateur?

Ben True: I believe the biggest difference is that a pro gets paid to run.  While both train hard and are passionate for what they do and desire to succeed, for a pro, running is their job.  With the luxury of being paid to run, being a pro also comes added pressure and accountability for results.


Ben True, BAA 5k, 2012, 

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RBR, # 9. What are your goals for 2013?

Ben True: My overall goals this year is to make the World Championship team in Moscow this summer.  I also want to improve my 5k and 10k prs.


Ben True, 2012 BAA 5k, 

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RBR, # 10. If you had a high school track team in front of you, what  main point would you want to get across about our sport?

Ben True: The main point I would make would be to make sure you are having fun.  Running is a lot of work, and takes a lot of time.  If you don't love the sport and can't have fun with what you are doing, it will be very difficult to succeed.  Enjoy the process and the results will follow.


Ben True, 2012 U.S. Oly Trials, 10,000m, 

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RBR, # 11. What do you train in, and what do you race in?

Ben True: I train in the Saucony Rides and Virratas and race in the Endorphin spikes (both MD and LD).


Ben True, 2012 U.S. Oly Trials, 5,000m, Qualifying, 

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RBR, # 12. What does a typical day of build up training look like?

Ben True: Typical day includes a longer run in the morning (usually 9-10 miles) and then a shorter shakeout in the evening (5-6 miles).  Between runs, the day is fairly relaxed with the occasional nap, stretching, and lots of coffee drinking.


Ben True, 2012 U.S. Oly Trials, 10,000m, 

photo by

RBR, # 13. What does a typical day of training look like during season?

Ben True: In season the day looks fairly similar, but with the morning run being replaced by a workout, either tempo or intervals on the track.  Most morning workouts are in the 12-15 mile range.


Ben True, 2012 U.S. Oly Trials, 10,000m, photo by

RBR, # 14. Your favorite track athlete, past or present?

Ben True: I would have to say my former coach, Tim Broe.  Tim is toughness redefined.  He proves that through hard work you can succeed.


Ben True, 2013 World Cross Country, March 24, 2013, 

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RBR, # 15. If you were not doing your event, what other event in track and field would you do?

Ben True: I would love to be able to do compete in the high jump.  It seems like such a neat event.  Unfortunately I can't jump.


Ben True, 2012 Oly Trials, 5,000m Qualifying, 

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RBR, # 16. What is your favorite event to compete at?

Ben True: I love running the 5k.  It is a great combination of speed and endurance.


Ben True, 2013 Aramco Houston, 

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RBR, # 17. Do you have an inspirational quote?

Ben True: "Only those who attempt the absurd can achieve the impossible" - MC Escher


Ben True, 2013 World Cross Country, 

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RBR, # 18. Tell us about the race at World Cross? What was going through your head? When did you know you had done so well?

Ben True: The race at World Cross was amazing.  The course was complete slop- mud, ice and snow blanketed the twisting 2km loop that ended with running up and down an alpine ski hill.  Previewing the course beforehand, we all knew that the race was going to be strength based and that you had to be conservative early on if you wanted to finish well.  I got out well, finding myself right around 20th place, and worked with teammate Chris Derrick to hang with the leaders lap after lap.  I knew that if I could just maintain contact that I could hold on to a decent finish.  But as the race progressed and athletes began to fall off the pace, I found myself in the top ten.  On the last lap the coaches were yelling that the entire team was running well and that we had a shot at a bronze medal.  It wasn't until after the race that we learned that instead of bronze, we beat Kenya and won silver!  It was an amazing experience! 


Ben True, 2012 BAA Boston 5k, 
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