February 5, 2024
"I hit 100m to go and was just like, 'Don't freaking let up. Don't leave anything out there.' I crossed the finish line seeing 13:04 but until I saw it on the board, I wasn’t going to get too excited. So to see it there, I was so pumped."
Ben Flanagan is a fan favorite and has been on the show a few times. He is fresh off running 13:04 at the Terrier Classic at Boston University. That got him under the Olympic qualifying standard, which is huge because if we went back to his last appearance on the podcast in 2021 – he was stressing over his ranking and chasing a fast enough time to get himself in a good spot for the Tokyo Olympic selection. He didn’t end up going.
He finally got the chance to represent Canada last year at the World Championships in Budapest and now his path is a little bit easier. He’ll explain that, how he found his speed again at The Very Nice Track Club and why he’s so excited to chase some records.
We also answered a bunch of your listener questions that we submitted via Instagram.
Host: Chris Chavez | @chris_j_chavez on Instagram
Guest: Ben Flanagan | @ben_flanagan on Instagram
Austin DeSisto / @austindesisto
Ben Flanagan on just missing out on the 2021 Canadian Olympic team:
Ben Flanagan: The main takeaway that I learned is that you can't expect things to fall into place. I was at a place where I was so close to being in or out that I had to rely so much on these uncontrollable factors where you're just rooting for everything to work out. I left that year being like, ‘OK, I can't do that again.’ I can't just put myself in a decent place and expect everything to work out. If I want to make it, I have to step up. And luckily, since I made the change to Very Nice Track Club with Ronnie, my trajectory has been a lot better.
On running under the Olympic qualifying standard of 13:05 at the 2024 BU Terrier Classic:
Ben Flanagan: Time trials have been what I'm disproportionately bad at in my career. A lot of my success or highlights or accolades all come from competitions, winning races, and doing well in big competitions. I've never had a standard. I've always respected the difficulty of hitting standards and I'm impressed by athletes that routinely can run fast because it's something that I've had a hard time doing, especially in races that are set up to do exactly that – you know, go out from the beginning and just stay on pace. It's not my style. So knowing that, I was really focused on not getting caught up too far back…
They were going crazy. I could hear my family going nuts. I hit 100m to go and was just like, ‘Don't freaking let up. Don't leave anything out there.’ I crossed the finish line seeing 13:04 but until I saw it on the board, I wasn’t going to get too excited. So to see it there, I was so pumped.
On celebrating after the race:
Ben Flanagan: They all knew I was trying to run 13:05 and to be under that threshold was awesome. And it couldn't have been closer, which made it suspenseful. But then celebrating with my parents and everyone was awesome. It's been a long time thinking that the Olympics are a real thing, but the closer you get to a performance like that, the self-doubt becomes the loudest. So to actually accomplish that goal despite all that is amazing.
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Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.