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Canadian Olympic marathoner Ben Preisner signs with Lululemon Athletica

In his second-ever marathon, Canada's Ben Preisner led the men's marathon team

Team Canada athletes had a strong showing in Tokyo. Among them was Ben Preisner, who proudly represented Canada in the Olympic marathon in Sapporo. In only his second official marathon, Preisner finished as the top Canadian man, in 2:19:27 for 46th place, climbing 26 positions from the halfway mark to the finish.

Preisner just signed on with Lululemon Athletica to be a global ambassador for the brand to continue his professional running journey. What attracted Preisner to Lululemon was the community and being able to work with a brand that is dedicated to empowering athletes to reach their full potential.

Ben Preisner at the Toronto Waterfront half-marathon. Photo: Maxine Gravina

We sat down with the 25-year-old from Milton, Ont., a former 5,000m and 10,000m runner with the University of Tulsa, to ask him what went into his preparation and how he kept his composure during the race.

RELATED: Ben Preisner on the race of his life at The Marathon Project

Q: What was your preparation like going into the Olympic Games?

A: I flew to Flagstaff, Ariz. in early June to begin training on my own, then joined Athletics Canada’s training camp there with Cam Levins two weeks later. Flagstaff was great for my build, as it gave me the mental capacity of what to expect in Sapporo. On July 28, we arrived in Gifu, Japan for Athletics Canada’s training and acclimatization camp, then on July 31 we left for Sapporo. 

Q: In your first official marathon you ran the Olympic standard, now you are on the Sapporo start-line with double the number of entries. How did The Marathon Project experience prepare you for Tokyo?

A: It was a completely different vibe. The weight of The Marathon Project was high, but it almost felt like I was doing a time trial. My coach, Richard Lee, trained me to run the splits needed to achieve the standard during workouts – all I had to do on that day was trust my training. My coach and I knew the Olympics race would be a slower, more tactical race, due to the warm temperature. We knew the most important thing for me was to get acclimated to the weather and to be able to run comfortably through humidity.  

Q: What was the one thing on your mind during the race that helped you keep your composure?

A: We knew it was going to be warm, and we knew that the pace would go out quick for the conditions. As a runner and engineer, I focus a lot on analytics – everyone in the field has run the Olympic standard, but you have to address and understand the circumstances on the start line. The time of 2:15:30 would have put me in the top 20 within the last four Olympic games. I was 1:07:30 through the half, just ahead of my planned pace, which was the strategy going in.

Photo: Athletics Canada

Q: Did you notice any difference in the climate between Gifu/Tokyo region and Sapporo?

A: Nothing substantial, a few degrees colder in the mornings, but the humidity was higher. I would put [the weather in Sapporo] in comparison to a warm, humid day in the middle of an Ontario summer. 

Q: What shoes did you wear for the marathon?

A: Nike Alphafly Next% (Mango)


Q: What is a moment that you will never forget during your experience at the Games?

A: Sitting in a room and being on the starting line with tremendous athletes from around the world, and knowing that I made it here. Casually seeing, and competing against, Galen Rupp, Callum Hawkins and Eliud Kipchoge (who gave me props before the race) and many more. It’s truly an unbelievable experience that I will never forget.

Q: What’s next for Ben Preisner?

A: Currently I am seeing how my body adapts to being back from Japan. I am fatigued from the journey and the race, as it took a lot out of me. I have my eyes on a late fall or winter marathon, as qualification windows open up for the 2022 Commonwealth Games and World Championships. I will also be moving to Vancouver in the next couple of months to join the BC Endurance Project alongside Luc Bruchet and Justin Kent.

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