Member Spotlight: Ben Sweet

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What event are you running with Team for Kids?
The 2015 TCS New York City Marathon!

What is your favorite place to run and why?
It’s a little far from New York at the moment as I’ll be relocating from London very soon, but it’s got to be along the river Thames in London. Along the river there is a lot to see, some great landmarks, the London Eye & Big Ben, just the ticket to take your mind somewhere else while you run. It’s pretty flat but there are some climbs over bridges and a great hill near Battersea which is always a great surprise at mile 8!

If you run with music, what are your favorite artists or songs to listen to?
Lots of different tracks, but I try and work to 180 beats a minute as much as possible which I’ve been told is the ideal cadence for your legs. Recently I’ve been listening to some a capella by Pentatonix (Daft Punk) which is great motivator. I’ve got lots of driving dance beats but some classic wild cards like the theme tune from the A-Team, We Built This City by Starship (great for a city run) and Use Somebody, Kings of Leon. I tend to have two playlists for a long run which I call the Overture and the Finale in my playlist! The Finale tends to be really driving music for when the legs are a little more tired and really helps focus the mind on my goal!

What is your favorite post-run meal?
After a long run on a Saturday morning it’s time for mega breakfast which I love, poached eggs, brown toast, bacon (usually a whole pack) and pancakes. You need to put the calories you’ve burned back in your body, so Saturday is my eat anything day, including a lot of ice cream (not a good habit)! During the week I tend to eat a lot of chicken, brown rice and broccoli, but generally add a lot of chili and garlic to give it some kick.

When did your relationship with running begin and why?
I’m a late starter and didn’t run when I was in school, but a friend of mine many years later really wanted to complete a half marathon and I generally worked too much but agreed to run with them to address my work life balance. This was many years ago before GPS was widely used so during training we used to drive the course and drop carrots at the mile marker points, they’re bright orange and bio-degradable, perfect! We completed our local half marathon in the rolling hills (and lots of them) of Staffordshire, England and I think I got the bug from there. Strangely enough running gives me more energy to work which is a little counter intuitive, but a real plus for me and I regularly run the 5 miles to my current workplace.

Do you have any pre-race rituals or superstitions, if so, please explain?
I’ve run every race in the same t-shirt and don’t wash it until the night before the race and just keep it hung up with my previous number still pinned on it in between which is a little disgusting. I also always drink coffee before a race, caffeine is proven to give you a boost and I just happen to be a big coffee drinker!

Why did you choose to run this event?
I’ve always loved small races, but made a commitment that I’d do all the marathon majors at some point in my life and I just happen to have lived in London & Chicago and will be in New York soon. I figure by the time I get to Boston I may be able to get good for age, although I’m nowhere near fit enough for that yet!

Tell us a little more about yourself
I work for a global organization called Merlin Entertainments which is the 2nd largest visitor attraction business in the world (the fantastic Disney is no.1) which means my job is to deliver memorable experiences to our millions of guests worldwide. In addition, I have been a General Manager of a number of businesses globally, working in a Dungeon & Madame Tussauds in London, LEGOLAND Discovery Center Chicago and many years in theme parks. I tell people it’s better than working in the real world and it’s great have a job where I’ve never not wanted to go to work! I’m excited to be relocating to New York soon to look after many of our businesses in the North East of the US which is great as I went to high school in Phoenix and still know my pledge despite being a UK citizen. In my spare time I like to run (obviously) but also love a great movie, great food and a little bit of an obsession with the theater!

What excites you most about running your event with Team for Kids?
New York is a great city and I ran in Central Park for my last run prior to the Chicago marathon (I was there meeting some friends) but the thing that excites me about putting yourself through the 26.2 journey is the ability to contribute to the city in which your living or running! When I’ve run marathons previously it’s been for charities which contribute to the local city and Team for Kids work is just fantastic, admirable and very worthy of the money I’ll raise for them. I’m hoping to meet some of the kids they work with and hopefully contribute in other ways to such a great charity!

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