Catching Up with Ben Blankenship
I can't wait to return to the Liberty Mile! From the course to the crowd, the event management team and sponsors to my competitors, it is always one of the highlights of my racing season. Pittsburgh is a great place to run.
Rio Olympian Ben Blankenship is a current co-world record holder (Team USA) in the distance medley relay, and, as the two-time champion of the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile (2016-17) is getting ready to return to Pittsburgh to defend his title on Friday evening, July 20. GNC proudly partners with the USATF Foundation to help emerging and elite athletes realize their potential and dreams.
Q: We are coming up on the anniversary of your victory at last year’s GNC Live Well Liberty Mile. Congratulations on your second straight win at the Bring Back the Mile Grand Prix Tour event! Can you tell us about what that experience was like and what you remember most about last year’s race?
A: Last year's race was so memorable due to the fact that the rain held off until the exact moment the women finished their race. The event had just concluded when it started to absolutely downpour. Even though Bob Moran [non-executive chairman of the GNC Board] was soaked to the socks, he stayed to give out awards, and he did it enthusiastically. It just showed what an incredible event the GNC Live Well Liberty Mile is and how the race organizers really know what they are doing.
Q: What is your favorite part about running the Mile distance?
A: The Mile on the road is a combination of strength and just the right amount of speed applied at the perfect moment. I think it is tailored to my abilities. It is also a great distance because it is crowd-friendly, and it is easy to relate to.
Q: Tell us a little bit about your background. When did you start running, and what made you develop such a passion for the sport?
A: I started running in high school, and I did it because it gave me an opportunity to challenge myself on a daily basis. Then I found I out I was pretty good at it, and my competitive spirit took over. As I transitioned to collegiate running then professional running, that desire to be competitive kept (and continues to keep) me present and passionate in the sport.
Q: What does a typical training day look like for you?
A: Truthfully, I try not to keep my days very structured so that I am aware of how my body is feeling on any given day. But as an example, at an altitude camp I will make sure I run twice a day and get in a lift session.
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