Ben Brown has been adding a lot of stamps to his passport.
The wheelchair racer just returned from Georgia, where he took part in three events in the space of five days – a five-kilometre road race July 1 in Cedarwood, GA; a 10-km road race July 4 in Peachtree, GA; and a track meet July 5 in Atlanta, GA.
Earlier in the year, Brown competed in Switzerland and in Arizona, as well as at the national championships in Moncton in June.
Brown described the travelling as “part of my plan for this year, to get more international experience, which is what this year so far has been all about.”
And Brown is showing the difference a year can make.
“This time last year, on a flatter course, I was a full minute slower.”
Cedartown is a technical course, where he reached a top speed of 44.5 kilometres per hour on the downhill. He was ecstatic at his time, which was a new personal best for the distance.
In the 10k, he shaved four minutes off the time he made in April. Peachtree, he said, was the fastest course, but also the most challenging. He reached a top speed of more than 48 km/hr, and was doing 40 at the finish.
At the track meet, Brown recorded new personal best times in three of his four races, including a first place finish in the 200 metre event, where he finished a full three seconds ahead of anyone else. He also placed third in the 800 m and second in 400 m.
“There’s still two or three months left in the season” to improve even more, he added.
“The biggest difference this year, other than more practice and better competition, has been improving my starts and my overall speed.”
Having the development funding from being nationally carded has been a big relief as well, he adds.
Brown is also part of the Canadian wheelchair 4x400 relay program, which has been a great motivator.
As for his goal of hopefully making it to the 2016 Paralympics in Brazil, Brown feels he is on schedule.
“This year has been a big improvement. I just have to keep going from here.”
He is currently 20th in the world in the 100 m, 12th in the 200 m, 21st in the 400 m and 18th in the 800 m, in the T53 category.
“Rio will take a top-10 at least,” he said, so he has something to shoot for.
“I’ll need to get my 400 down to 51 seconds or less to make it to Rio on an individual basis.”
Coming up, Brown has the Atlantic championships at Beazley Field in early August and is also planning to do the navy 10k and the Berwick five-mile to stay in shape.
Cedarwood road race 12:38
Peachtree road race 25:45.24
Atlanta track 100 m 16.67
Switzerland 100 m 16.90
Atlanta track 200 m 29.35
Switzerland 200 m 29.55
Atlanta 400 m 57.71
Switzerland 400 m 56.95
Atlanta 800 m 1:54.91
Arizona 800 m 1:56.91