Ben Flanagan and Justyn Knight will both race the B.A.A 5K on Saturday. They will face a very deep field including World Championship top six finisher Ben True and 2019 USATF Indoor 2-mile champion Drew Hunter. Both Flanagan and Knight run for the Reebok Boston Track Club out of Charlottesville, Virginia.
We asked Flanagan and Knight how they thought they would do if on Saturday they were told they had to run a marathon instead of a 5K. Flanagan joked that, “I mean, I could finish it.” He continued, “I think I would try and run around 5:30 miles for as long as possible. I would hope to finish around the 2:30’s. It’s so hard to say.” Flanagan hasn’t done a long run longer than 14 miles recently and says that the marathon is a distance he really respects. “It would be impossible to go out there and do a good job without months of preparation.”
Knight took a slightly more aggressive approach saying he would aim for high teens or low twenties. “Oh my gosh, I mean I hope that I’d run between 2:18 or 2:20 but I don’t even know what a minute means in the context of a marathon.”
Knight only ran one race in the 2019 indoor season and says he wasn’t in his ideal race shape through the winter. “My indoor season was what everyone saw, I was out of shape. I knew I wasn’t as fit as I would’ve like to be, but I still wanted to race and see where I was at relative to my fellow competitors. I wasn’t ready to run fast then, but I feel I’m in a completely different spot now.” Knight says he always races to win and that’s the mindset he has heading into the weekend.
Both runners are starting their 2019 outdoor seasons with the World Championships in mind. Neither Flanagan or Knight are certain of which distance they would ideally qualify at, but they know they’d like to be there. For Flanagan this would be his first world champs team, whereas Knight has experience at the meet. He’s hoping to make the final in whichever event he qualifies in (either 1,500m or 5,000m). Knight’s next race will be Payton Jordan on May 2.