Coach Tony Benson – Amazing #1 Gintong Alay Coach

Tony Benson Early Days

Although not a Filipino. Australian Coach Tony Benson contributed a great deal of development to the Philippines Track and Field during the golden age of the Gintong Alay.

It is very appropriate that Tony will now forever be immortalized among the Philippines Track and Field’s greats.

Tony Benson
Photo Credit: Tony Benson

 

A 1972 Olympian and once the fifth-ranked 5000m runner in the world. Tony was undefeated on tours of the USA and Europe between 1970 and 1972, is the last Australian distance

runner to win at the prestigious Cologne, Stockholm, and Oslo meets. Also, Tony is a sub “4” minute miler, a former Australian 2000m record holder, and the 1969 Pacific Conference 1500m Gold Medalist.

He has best times of 3:59.8 (mile), 7:50 (3000m) and 13:36 (5000m). As well as a road 10k time of 27:37 on a Ballarat course that. While uncertified, they had seen only two other athletes, Wayne Bourke and Kevin Brady – both sub 14:05/5000m runners, break 30 minutes on the course in 40 years.

Tony Benson at the 1972 Olympics
Tony Benson at the 1972 Olympics

 

Tony began coaching in 1967 while teaching at St Patrick’s College in Ballarat. He moved to club coaching with Ballarat YCW on his retirement from an international competition in 1973. And within two years, had produced the first of what would be a long list of international. During this period, a small skinny kid named Steve Moneghetti arrived at St. Patrick’s, starting an association that would last through Steve’s foundation years.

Performances According to ALL-Athletics.com

  • Mile 3:59.8hMelbourne (AUS)18.03.1971
  • 2000m 5:06.2hViareggio (ITA)11.08.1972
  • 3000m 7:50.2hMelbourne (AUS)02.01.1971
  • 2 Miles 8:27.4hOslo (NOR)14.07.1971
  • 5000m 13:36.2hStockholm (SWE)07.07.1971

National Coach of the Philippines

tony benson
Tony Benson

 

In 1979 Tony was offered and accepted the National Coach of the Philippines position by Michael Keon, a former student-athlete with Tony and President Ferdinand Marcos’s nephew.

At that time, the Philippines ranked 29th in Asia. However, by the time Tony had left the Philippines, the Gintong Alay project had pushed the PR to No 1 in South East Asia, and 6th place in Asia produced Asian champions and record holders and Olympians, including a steeplechase semifinalist.

Tony left the Philippines in Mid May 1983. He knew the Philippines was on track for the 1983 SEA  Games at the point. And it was either a take-it-or-miss-it job opportunity. In those days returning from a foreign country job to finding a job in Australia was not an easy thing to do.

The main reason was the kids’ schooling. He took a one-year (1980) with a renewable option, contact for SEAG 1981. Tony’s greatest successes with Filipino athletes came from Hector Begeo, who made the Olympic Final in the 3000m Steeple Chase.

 

Triathlon Australia

Tony first became involved in the triathlon through Emma Carney. At the same time, the National T & F Coaching Director of Australia assisted her with her running during 1993 and 1994. As a result, she made her very successful transition from a national class runner to a World Champion triathlete.

In June 1993, he left his position as Athletics Australia Head Coach. And by the end of 1994, they had a squad of 25 athletes. Since then, the squad has grown to the point where there are usually between 70 and 80 athletes training at six to eight different locations around Melbourne and interstate and overseas.

Tony Benson has been the Head Coach of Olympic, Commonwealth, World Championship, and Asian Games teams, lectured in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific on behalf of the International Olympic Committee and International Association of Athletics Federation, and put his theories into practice by producing Olympic athletes and World Championship level athletes, triathletes and duathletes.

 

Tony Benson Run with the Best

In 1993, at the insistence of close friend Irv Ray, Tony and Irv produced a best-selling coaching book called “Run With The Best.” The philosophies it contained were proven when Irv coached 17-year-old Ryan Hall to a 3:42.7/1500m and No2 US high school miler of 2001.

Patrick Sang, a former standout Kenyan steeplechaser. Patrick used the RWTB principles he adopted. after meeting Tony in Nairobi. At the 2002 IAAF All Africa Level 2 Coaches’ Course, he prepared for 18-year-old 2003 World 5000m champion Eliud Kipchoge.

* In 2006, Ryan Hall ran a 2:06:15 marathon. In 2008 he represented the USA in the marathon at the Bejing Olympics.

wHILE has also mixed with elite athletes and coaches from triathlon, cycling, and swimming; he acknowledges the influence of many of these highly respected and successful people in constructing his training schedules and developing his computer programs.

  • He is a Level 5 Track and Field coach.
  • A Level 3 Triathlon Coach 
  • National Track and Field Consultant (AFTCA).

 

Tony Benson After the Philippines

  • Tony later served as head coach of Australia from 1988 to 1993
  • Lecturer for the IAAF in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific
  • Coached athletes into the Olympic, World Championship, and Commonwealth Games. And triathletes and into the world championships and the Hawaii Ironman.
  • Ran two businesses

1.       International Athletic Exchange (est. 1986) and

2.       Benson’s Running & Triathlon (est 1993)

  • Wrote (co-authored) a book “Run With The Best” that has sold (used) on the internet at as much as $300
  • Currently working assisting a Sports High School as their Head Coach to develop a track & Field program.

Tony Benson References

  1. http://www.benson.com.au/
  2. http://sportsacademy.maribsc.vic.edu.au
  3. http://www.runwiththebest.com/

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