With 20+ years experience in competitive football, coaching and personal training, Benn brings a wealth of knowledge to Runlab as a coach to MyRunGroup, MyTrailGroup and RunStrong groups. He also trains with the Runlab Elite Hunter running group.
Benn says the best part about running is the simplicity and hopes to inspire Runlab-ers on their journey. “Running is my time to be with myself. I can throw my shoes on and just get out there.” His passion is taking people from what they perceive as their “limit” to higher limits, joining them for the journey and watching them achieve their dream is Benn’s reward.
A personal attitude: desire, determination and disciple sums up Benn’s approach to his own training and coaching is his strong sense of accountability: “knowing I’ve set myself different challenges to achieve gets me out the door each morning and setting a high standard for my athletes.”
Football was the original passion, endurance running events came later. Competing in NSW Football State League and South Coast Premier League during his youth when an injury, a torn hamstring forced a change in pace. To reduce the risk of reinjury in this high impact sport, Benn eventually switched his focus to endurance events, initially building up to running thirty minutes consecutively, to running and triathlon, competing in his first full Ironman 2014.
Moving from football to running races required a completely different approach. “On football field, I’d run 10-15km in a match but it’s stop-start, a lot of sprinting compared to endurance races, I’ve had to learn how to use different energy systems: rebuilding the engine, training myself to run further distances and running longer. “Running became a new focus for me, a new goal and a sport to work around the injury.”
Hyperactive and never still, Benn’s competed in multiple Ironman and running events around the world. Not satisfied with the standard events on the racing calendar, in 2016, Benn dreamt up his own event, to further test his body and mind, and find his limits: a 24 hour Ironman comprising of four consecutive, back to back 4 x Half Ironman.
Close to finding his limits; Benn was nearly forced to pull out developing hyperthermia during the last quarter of the race, at 2:00am, pulled through and completed the challenge at ParkRun 7:00am. A Guinness World Record-worthy effort and a personal new limit set.
Benn’s approach is 100% belief in his athletes potential by giving them the support they need to achieve their goals. “The best part of my role as a coach is showing them the path to achieving their dreams and walking through the process with them. Showing them what they thought was impossible, possible.
At his first 50k ultra-marathon, UTA 2018 he found a new limit: “I’m attracted to the technical challenge of the different elements that expose you to so many possibilities. As well as being a self supported race and carrying my own gear, the challenge of staying on my feet, over rocky terrain, which sorely tested my skills at the 12 km mark a bend in the trail, jumped down some rocks, my foot slipped and I fell two metres into the creek, twisting my knee when I landed.” It took a good hour of monitoring the knee and easing back into a comfortable rhythm, finishing with a respectable sub-6hours for his debut ultra-trail. “Forget Ironman, UTA was the toughest race I’ve ever done.”
Benn’s next goal is tackling the 100K at UTA 2019, training with the Runlab Elite Group and under the watchful eye of Vlad. Living and breathing the Runlab philosophy “achieving your impossible”.
- Marathon PB 3:02 hour Gold Coast 2014.
- Half Marathon PB 87mins
- City to Surf 56mins 2014
- Ironman 70.3 4:57hours 2017 Port Macquarie
- 3 x Ironman Wanaka, Wanaka, Roth
- 15 x Ironman 70.3
- 24 hour Inroman . 4 x Half Ironman
- Sub 70mins Half Marathon
- Won a number of Half Ironman’s
- Run 72mins off the bike in a Half Ironman
- Helped a number of Triathletes achieve PBs.
- Age group athletes qualify for the Ironman world championships in Kona
ADAM is the founder of Up and Adam Performance training and has been training clients for over 15 years based out of Newcastle. Adams experience competing at an Elite level as an AFL player and runner is the perfect addition to the RUNLAB brand when it comes to Strength & Conditioning.
Adam Clarke is Personal Trainer with 15 years Industry experience. Adam is the owner /operator of Upnadam Performance and co-creator of the Runlab Runstrong program, delivering this session from his studio in Newcastle on a weekly basis. Adam is also an integral part of the Runlab “Mytrailgroup” offering and works closely with Vlad to ensure that the sessions that have been developed have the required Strength & Conditioning components included to both prepare and improve runners targeting the unique and challenging demands of trail running.
Through High level Sports (Basketball & AFL playing career) “I developed a passion for fitness along with required qualities of hard work, teamwork, culture and determination together with a healthy competitive spirit that has become my life and much more than just my chosen profession as a Personal Trainer”. “I spend my days helping people realise their full potential through the various training varieties and skills I have learnt and adapted over the years, from Athletes to the Elderly, I love coming up with the right plans and movements to see people do what they didn’t think was possible”.
Since finishing with sport Adam have developed an addiction to Running in all forms from Ultra right down to the shorter stuff. “I have had the opportunity to compete in some amazing races both here and abroad” and I lead an annual group to complete the challenging Shotover Moonlight Marathon in New Zealand every February.
From these experiences and my drive to get the best out of myself I have drawn from this passion into developing with Vlad the Runstrong program to help others achieve their impossible.
Besides training and training people, I love nothing more than spending time with my young family, enjoying the outdoors and watching sport of any type!
In 2018 Adam plans to complete the UTA 100 Blue Mountains with a top 15 finish and continue to help people understand the importance of strength training for runners and from that watch them achieve amazing results from the process.
Mitch is a great addition to our team. Not only himself an exceptional athlete but a very friendly energetic individual who brings that spark along to every session. Combined this makes him an excellent Runlab coach who is able to lead and demonstrate with experience and passion. Justin also trains with the Runlab Elite Hunter running group.
“I have always played sport throughout my life. My childhood was spent playing organised sports such as soccer, softball, touch football and a lot of early mornings in the pool swimming. Having two brothers and a sister who loved sport as much as I do meant that there was always a game of something in the backyard also. This led to sport and physical activity becoming one of the most important parts of my life When I was 17, 18 and 19 I represented NSW at the U23 Nationals for softball.
“I moved to Newcastle from Orange in 2008 to study PE Teaching at university and the need to work on weekends made continuing softball at a high level more difficult and I eventually stopped playing. Soccer continued in Newcastle and winning the Zone Premier League title in 2013 with Newcastle Uni FC has been a major highlight. I had always been fairly good at running throughout my life but didn’t start pursuing it as a sport until about halfway through 2013. Running quickly became a huge passion for me and the constant race against the clock and myself is something I hadn’t found in other sports.
“I first joined Runlab as an athlete in early 2014 and quickly fell in love with it. It was a place where I could come and join a group of like-minded (crazy) people who liked to exhaust themselves, running in circles for an hour. The sessions were extremely beneficial as I would struggle to complete interval sessions on my own, and could turn up each week and be pushed to my personal limit and beyond and achieve some huge running goals of mine.
“The start of 2015 saw me transition into a coaching role for Runlab and I now have the opportunity to help others to realise and achieve their running goals. It is a truly rewarding experience to coach all of the wonderful athletes that make up the Runlab family and I do it because I love running and I want to see others get that same joy from it.
• Bachelor of Teaching (Secondary)/Bachelor of Health and Physical Education
• Level 1 Soccer Coach
• Level 2 Softball Coach
In 2018 Mitch is looking to complete the Ultra Marathon (UTA22).
Scotty is a determined and passionate coach, joining the Runlab family 12 months ago. He lives by the motto: #never4thagain. “I had a great race in 2017 at the Buffalo Stampede and just missed the podium. I vowed that after that I wouldn’t skip a training session no matter how dark, cold or wet it is”. Scott also trains with the Runlab Elite Hunter running group.
“Coaching the Monday group, I’m the first group of the week where people share their races stories from the weekend. That’s an incredibly motivating thing to start the week with and reminds me each week we are all capable of breaking goals when we put the effort into consistent training.
“At school I played pretty much every everything I was allowed to; cricket, soccer, basketball, netball, touch football. I played competitive field hockey and was part of the Northern Inland Academy of Sport team. I was also a state level hockey umpire.
“When I moved to Newcastle I started rock climbing and met a friend there who was an ultra runner, after 12 months of thinking he was crazy I signed up for the North Face (UTA) 50k. I’d run City to Surf before so figured if I could run that i could run 20k, then a bit further to the aid station, then some downhill, if only i knew then what that downhill would do to me, but I finished, loved it and signed up for a 100k a few months later at the GNW and I’ve been hooked every since. I grew up on a farm so i always enjoyed being outdoors and running seemed like a way to spend more time outside exploring.
- Great North Walk 100k 2016 – 2nd place
- Buffalo Stampede Ultra 2017 – 4th place
- Great Southern Endurance Run (112 miles) 2017 – 40h55m
- Bachelor of Engineering
In 2018, Scott is looking to complete the Coastal High 50k in September and Ultra Easy 100k in New Zealand January 2019 along with consistent training and management of a back injury.
Running for me is all about staying fit and healthy and being able to share my passion for running events with the amazing group of people this has allowed me to form friendships and socialise with. I’m also involved in the daily operational activities with Runlab whilst maintaining my regular employment
I have been running for many years to both keep myself fit and healthy and socialise with all the fantastic friends I have met through running. Almost every morning I will be out and about running through the stunning Newcastle scenery, where I have lived my entire life.
Whilst not entirely competitive, I like to race and challenge myself and have completed numerous running events ranging from 5km races all the way to Ultra Marathons. Personally I have had my own challenges with Cancer in the past and running has been a large part of enabling me to regain my fitness and health after some time off, in fact Vlad and I met when I competed in my first race supporting a cancer charity in the 2012 City2Surf.
Since meeting Vlad I have become heavily involved in Runlab and do a lot of work behind the scenes so we can continue to deliver our exceptional offering that is Runlab to all our wonderful runners. Occasionally I coach Newcastle Young Guns group together with Vlad. This is extremely rewarding.
In 2018 Cheryl will complete the Ultra Marathon (UTA 50) together with Comrades Marathon in South Africa.