Ben Offereins is currently in career best form and was recently been tipped by Australian High Performance Manager, Eric Hollingsworth, as an athlete to watch leading up to the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi later in 2010.
After running a Commonwealth Games A-Qualifying time and Personal Best of 45.53 in the 400m at an inter-club meet in Perth on Friday 15th January 2010, Ben backed up with a winning time of 45.32 at the Australian Athletics Tour meet in Canberra on 30th January 2010. A member of the Bronze-medal winning 4x400m IAAF World Championships Team in Berlin in 2009, Ben beat a quality field in Canberra that included Clay Watkins (45.95) and 2008 Beijing Olympian Joel Milburn (46.63).
We caught up with Ben for a quick chat before he flew out to Sydney for the Sydney Track Classic.

Coach: Lyn Foreman
Manager: Sam Maxwell from Sam Maxwell Sports Management
Event: 400m
Sponsors: Mizuno
Hometown: Perth, Western Australia

RT: Ben Offereins, thanks for speaking to us at Runners Tribe.

BO: No problem, thanks for having me.

RT: You have had a great last couple of weeks. You ran 45.53 in an inter-club in Perth and backed that up with a new PB of 45.32 in Canberra, which was also a new meet record. Tell us about these races and what you are looking forward to in the upcoming Grand Prix’s in Sydney and Melbourne.

BO: The results were obviously good and I was really happy. Any time you run a PB you can never be annoyed about it. But, as an athlete, I guess you criticise your own performances all the time. If you don’t do that, you’re not looking to improve.

Running the 45.3 was good. It was a good confidence booster knowing that I can do it. I ran from an outside lane, which I have seemed to get a lot lately. I couldn’t see anyone for the whole race and was just running scared, but it would be interesting to see what I can do if I do get a middle lane or an inside one, and have to run off other people.

My coach, Lyn Foreman and I sat down and looked at the splits and we think that we can cut a bit of time off the 45.3 without doing anymore work as it’s more of an acceleration thing. This is obviously encouraging and positive so we’ll just see how it all goes with the 400m.

After Canberra I then went up to Brisbane and ran 21.1 in the 200m. While I would have liked to have gone quicker, position-wise I was happy. I took a few good scalps which I was pretty pleased with! So yeah, overall it was a pretty good trip.

RT: You’ve now run two A-qualifying times. Since then, you’ve had quite a bit of media attention; a lot of people are writing about you and you have had Eric Hollingsworth, the High Performance Manager of the Australian Flame come out and say that you are one to watch come the Commonwealth Games later in the year. Does this add any additional pressure?

BO: Not really I don’t think. I guess of all the other 400m runners, I am the only one to comment on as the others haven’t run yet. But it’s always nice to get that little bit of recognition; there are people who are obviously watching and I’m not really used to that. It is definitely a different feeling knowing that people are following you and watching your performances and taking a real interest in you, which is of course really nice. To come from Eric is also a big thing. I know Eric, and he’s not one to give away compliments too easy, so to get that from him was really good and very rewarding.

RT: On the back of this success, we hear that you have just signed a deal with Mizuno?

BO: Yeah, I’m really happy that I’m on board with Mizuno. My manager, Sam Maxwell, has been doing some great work for me and was able to secure that deal. Without doubt it will definitely help me as an athlete. Mizuno have a great range of shoes and apparel, all of which is now going to be sold in Australia too. I’ll be racing in Sydney for the first time in their clothes and really looking forward to it. Of course I am grateful for their support and I hope that I can repay Mizuno back by running well over the next few months.

RT: Let’s fast-forward a few weeks and suppose you do qualify for the Commonwealth Games. We know about your success in the 4 x 400m Relay in Berlin last year, but what would it mean to run in an individual event in New Delhi?

BO: Individual would be nice! You know, I have only ever watched it on TV, and when I was at Worlds I watched it in the stands and just wished that I was the one out there that everyone was watching. It would be a dream come true to be out there at Comm Games running for my country. Having my family and friends back home, being able to watch me on TV, would be great. It is something that I want to push to do. I want top 3 at Nationals. I don’t want to be known as just a relay runner. I want to step up into the individual spot, but I know that it is going to be very hard to do as there are so many guys trying to fight for it as it’s such a competitive event. But I will definitely give it my best shot and run as hard as I can and just make it as hard as possible for those other guys to get the spot over me. If they run faster than me, then they run faster than me and I can’t help that. But I’m going to make sure that they are going to run very fast to do it.

RT: Stepping aside from the track for a minute, what else do you do outside Athletics and what is a “normal week in the life of Ben Offereins”?

BO: Well, it’s a bit hectic at times and I definitely don’t have much spare time! I’m off to work at 6.30am in the morning every day. I’ve just started TAFE again to do some extra study for work through a civil engineering course. I’m at work from 6.30am to 12.30pm then off to TAFE for a few hours before training in the afternoon. I obviously go to training, go home, rest for a bit, go to sleep, then do it all over again!

RT: Congratulations on the last couple of weeks, Ben. We look forward to watching you race in Sydney, Melbourne and later in Perth at the Commonwealth Games trials. Should you make the team, we will hopefully catch up for another chat before you head away!

BO: Thanks for all your support.