Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Catching up with Southlake Carroll HS runner, Ben Golestan...

Thanks to David Taylor of xcnation.com for the following interview with Southlake Carroll HS senior runner, Ben Golestan.  He is the 2nd. fastest 3200m. runner (9:15.27) on his team that is currently the fastest 5 x 3200m. team in the country with a 9:18.29 average.  That average time ranks them 17th all-time on the list of the top teams which you can view at this link.  During cross country, Southlake Carroll HS finished in 2nd place at the Nike Cross Nationals just four points behind the winning team.  

1. Three words that describe you and why?
Passionate, motivated and dedicated are three words that I thought of during my career to keep me going, especially during injuries. You cannot excel at something without having passion and without it, it becomes a job. Motivation and dedication come afterwards but are just as important to success because staying at the top requires practice and repetition, which you cannot get by becoming complacent.

2. What does Passion mean to you, how does it apply to running and perhaps succeeding in life?
Passion is the drive that every successful person needs.  It let's them love what they do, even if it is difficult. No task was ever completed without a passionate drive to accomplish that goal.

3. How do you want to be remembered as a runner? An all-time great, a record breaker, or one of
many? An example of something greater?
Even though I was never a top-10 in the nation guy, I still want to be remembered by my teammates
as one of the greats.  Not because of times or finishes but because I gave myself fully to running to get
where I am now. Setting an example for my team was always more important to me than individual finishes.  It took me awhile to realize that, but it is the legacy I want to leave behind.

4. If you met an 8th grader transitioning into high school who dreamt of being a successful distance runner, what words of advice would you give to him?
I would tell them that nothing is going to come easy, no matter how talented they may be. That may be a bit off-putting, but it is the truth in regards to being a successful runner. Many great running talents disappeared due to injury or simple laziness.  The ones that kept their focus and dedication are the ones that became great.

5. Humility in all things...what does that phrase mean to you?
Humility is one of the necessary human traits to being respected, both as a person and a runner. Based on experience, it is a bit lacking in the distance runner world, as I have been guilty myself. The best anyone can do is staying humble, no matter what kind of praise or attention they get, and let their actions, not words, gain them respect.

6. Looking back, what is the most significant moment in your running career?
That is a tough one. I suppose the one defining moment of my career was when the team got 2nd at Nike Cross Nationals (NXN). That was one of the most crushing moments in my life and it really left an impression on me. I had gotten a stress fracture in my left foot at the Nike Regional meet 2 weeks prior, so I had been cross training up to the National meet. I finished 7th on the team, once again not even breaking the top 100, which made it even more bitter since I knew if I had been healthy that day would have gone differently.

7. What other sports have you played besides cross country and track and field?
Sadly, I did not play any sports before high school besides basketball in the 4th grade, which I do not
really count.

8. How did you get your start in running?
My middle school offered an Off-Season program for kids who needed athletic credits without playing any real sports. Naturally, it consisted mostly of running laps around the school. After an entire year of this, there was a required mile time trial at the end of the year, which I ended up running 5:36. After this, some of my friends recommended I join the Cross Country in high school, and once I heard about NXN and the free Nike stuff, I was sold.

9. What were some of your highlights from your high school career so far?
Winning the state meet was by far THE highlight of my career since it was the first Cross Country boy’s title in school history. Besides that, running 9:15 at Texas Relays was awesome, as well as the first time I broke 16-minutes for the 5k my junior year at the Marcus I Invitational.

10. What is your favorite racing moment thus far?
My favorite racing moment thus far was technically not during a race.  It was immediately after crossing
the finishing line at the state meet neck and neck with my teammate Nate Sullivan, and then turning
around and seeing our next 3 runners finish right after us, knowing we had won.

11. Tell us a little about your family and how they has helped you develop during your years in high school.
My family was not very involved in my running, mostly because I told them not to be. My parents went to all my races and took me to doctor’s appointments if I was injured or sick but they wouldn’t interfere with my diet or workouts. They trusted me to do the right thing and let me do my own thing.

12. Southlake Carroll coach Justin Leonard...how has he influenced your running, team?
Coach Leonard was a great coach to have during my career, as it was a learning experience for both of us.  My freshman class was his first class as a head coach, so we were his guinea pigs in the PAAVO program, which in the end turned out pretty well. He did a great job of keeping the team motivated and focused on the goal, which was winning state and nationals.

13. Favorite distance in track? Favorite run? Favorite invitational? Favorite opponent(s)? Favorite track workouts? Favorite run?
Favorite distance would have to be the 800 which is surprising for a distance runner but it was the most enjoyable race I do on the track. My favorite run would be our Monday long runs around the city, nothing helped you relax like those 13 mile morning runs. Favorite invitational would be the Marcus I Invitational, and I am sure most runners from my area would agree with me since it is such a fast course. My favorite opponent would be Brigham Hedges from The Woodlands, seeing him in front of me in races would force me to go catch him no matter how bad I was feeling. Favorite track workout would be the 10x400 repeats I did every Tuesday during cross country season, that workout made men out of boys.

14. What races are you most looking forward to as you look ahead to the rest of your track and field season?
My season ended last weekend, a little earlier than I would have hoped. However, the races I looked forward to most were Texas Relays, District and Regionals.

15. Running ultimately will not define who you are, how would you like to be defined?
That is a very difficult question, since my running and personal life took very different paths. I was a motivated and focused runner, something not present in my school work. I think everyone would define me differently, but I would like them to think of me as honest, a good friend.

16. Favorite running movie, running song, and favorite runner?
Favorite running movie is easily Chariots of Fire, can’t compare to that. Favorite running song would have to be “Oh!” by Union Turnpike. Favorite runner is Hicham El-Guerrouj, I love watching his old races.

Thank you very much for your time Ben!  AJC

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