By Ben WilliamsA year after being diagnosed with lung cancer, Ben Williams had just completed a five-kilometre training run in South Africa.
It was his first marathon and he knew it was a special occasion.
“I had to do it for me, because I have a bad cough,” he said.
“But I think I’ve got to do something special for everyone.”
As a member of a team from an elite athletics team, Ben’s marathon training is unusual.
His training partner and fellow athlete, Jai Rottman, is an experienced runner who has run more than 40 marathons.
“It was just a case of me and Jai going out there and running with a lot of confidence, which we did really well,” he told ABC Radio Adelaide.
“We’ve had a lot training together over the years, but when we’re on the same page, that’s how it works.”‘
I love my body’Ben said his marathon training was not just about gaining speed but also about being able to relax after a tough day.
“My lungs are not perfect, but I can still train like I used to,” he explained.
“When you have a really bad day, like I did, and you’re sitting in the chair, it’s really hard to run.”
You’ve got that adrenaline rush, and it’s hard to get the same kind of balance.
“If you’re going to have a tough race, you want to be able to calm down, get yourself back to where you were before.”
To make his marathon run, Ben had to adapt his training methods.
He’d changed his running style to include long runs.
He was initially planning on doing a 50km race, but his doctor told him it was too dangerous.
Instead, he decided to take a more gradual pace and concentrate on a 30-minute walk.
“Running’s not easy, but it’s just what I have to do to get through it,” he continued.
“Once I had my lung cleared, I was able to start training in a much more natural way.”
Ben trained with the local community, but he found his training partner Jai was the one who had helped him.
“He was the only person who had ever helped me through the worst times, and he’s been a great support,” he added.
“His advice was, ‘you’ve got your time, just go for it’.”
Ben says he’s still not ready to run a marathon, but Jai is now taking him up on his advice.
“So, hopefully I can do it, but if not, I’ll take a run at it, just like I was before.”