Ben savours the moment as he wins 800m gold at Grangemouth (photo by Bobby Gavin)
Patience is an under-estimated asset in athletics. The willingness to look at the bigger picture when performances plateau for a season. Or even longer.
Examples are littered across the sport every year and athletics in Scotland has seen one or two high profile illustrations even in the past fortnight – think Laura Muir.
So it was great to watch Ben Greenwood striding away to a first outdoor Senior Scottish gold at Grangemouth on Sunday as he claimed the 800m title in fine style.
Kane Elliott took the first lap out in 53 seconds or so with a determination not to let Ben dictate proceedings. But, come the home straight, and there was no prospect of the Perth Strathtay Harriers athlete losing out at the finish – as happened to him in 2016.
bove all, here was hard evidence of an excellent 2021 improvement for an athlete coached and coaxed back to full fitness by Carol Sharp.
‘I’ve won indoors in the past but I’ve missed the outdoors a few times being in America or injury,’ said Ben.
‘The last one I did was in 2016 and I was pipped at the finish by an Irish athlete (Kieran Kelly) and took second.
‘It’s nice to be back. With the form I’ve been in during this year I wanted to come back and try and finally win a Scottish National title.
‘I was hoping to get a good race out of it, too, and that happened because Kane Elliott was prepared to go out hard on the first lap.
‘I’ve had many races in my Junior years when people let me dictate things, so I appreciated Kane making me really have to work hard for it. I was still confident that with 200m to go I’d be able to push it on.’
PBs this year at 800 and 1500 confirm Ben’s progress, the latter an eye-catching 3:41.76 after very few outings at that distance over a number of years. His 800m PB now stands at 1:47.76.
‘The main thing now is I’m training well and I am in touch with my speed,’ he said.
‘I’ve had to get used to racing again. I went to Manchester for the British Champs and ran a PB in the 800m – after waiting for four years!
‘I am figuring out better how to pace the 800m.
‘I’ve had a few years of just trying to stick at it and hoping, really, that ultimately I would see some improvement. Now this year there has been a shift forward again and I feel good and am enjoying it.’