Ben Lambert grabs Silver at Nationals

Story courtesy of College Sport Media 

Ben Lambert understands speed. The Paraparaumu College sports captain is a leading sprinter and shows intellectual swiftness as a debater and head of the school politics club.

The ability to move quickly and maintain his composure has served Lambert especially well in track and field.

On Saturday at the New Zealand Track and Field Championships in Hastings, Lambert was second in the Under-18 100 metres. He ran a personal best of 10.98 seconds in the final, improving upon the 10.99 he ran at the Potts Classic in January.

“I didn’t have an amazing start which is something I’m keen to work on in the winter, but I can’t complain too much with the result. It was my first senior nationals and to make the final was an achievement. To get a medal was even better.”

Lambert was narrowly beaten by local Ryan Shotter whom he shares a keen rivalry with.

“We’ve run against each other since we were ten. In 2017 we were on the same team for the Pacific Games. There have been plenty of times he’s beaten me and plenty of times I’ve beaten him. We know each other as well as you can in an individual sport.

“The best way to look at sprinting is you can’t control what other people do. If you take that mindset into a race you can happily learn from your mistakes you made. That lays the foundation for consistent improvement.”

Lambert’s parents first knew each other through athletics. His mother Tracy and father Kerry were both sprinters in the Hutt Valley with Kerry a multiple medalist at National competitions.

“I started competitively when I was seven, which is as young as you can,” Ben said.

“When I started secondary school I started to take it seriously.  In Year 10 I broke the Wellington Under-14 100-metres regional record and won the North Island 100 and 200 titles.

“My coach is my dad. He wasn’t too keen when I was young. He wanted to make sure I was actually coachable; wouldn’t throw a tantrum.

“I would distinguish between running really fast and actually sprinting. When I learnt techniques I started to improve.”

How do you sprint?

“It’s like a cycle motion with your legs, good knee elevation is essential with a 90 degree angle between your calf and hamstring. You want your arms to be moving in a controlled manner, not across the body too much. That’s not a super technical answer,” he laughed.

As sports captain Lambert is expected to answer questions about sport at his college. What does sport mean to Lambert and how is he helping improve sport at Paraparaumu?

“My job is to help foster a positive environment for sport in the school, celebrate the success of students who achieve highly and encourage everyone to get involved. Sport is positive for well being. We run activities at lunchtime and have an athletics week soon. A mentoring group for younger students who show promise has been set up.”