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The Scarlet & Black

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Spotlight: Ben Tyler

Ben Tyler ’14 has consistently been one of the top finishers for the Grinnell men’s cross country team this year, earning Midwest Conference Men’s Cross Country Performer of the Week honors last month. He finished second for the Pioneers at their last meet, running the eight-kilometer race in 25:50 on Saturday, Oct. 19 at the Jim Drews Invitational in La Crosse, Wis. This weekend, Tyler and both the men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in the Midwest Conference Championships at Oakland Acres Golf Club, here in Grinnell, as well as welcome back alumni for Grinnell’s Cross Country Reunion Weekend.

Ben Tyler. Photograph by Parker Van Nostrand

Cross Country Reunion Weekend is coming up on November 1-3. What are you most excited about?

Just to see the alums. Right now there are about 120 registered alums coming back and chances are there are going to be even more than that … A lot of guys from the 2010 regional championship team will be back, so that’s a pretty special team. And people going all the way back to the 80’s. The unofficial mascot for the team is the Purple Kangaroos and the founder of that legacy is coming back and he’s going to talk to the team, so that will be pretty awesome. Needless to say, Saturday night is probably going to be really fun after the race.


Which part of an eight-kilometer race is the toughest?

Probably the second and third mile. Because the first mile is all adrenaline and you’re gonna go out fast regardless, you’re not gonna feel too much pain, but it’s pretty easy to just settle in and rest during the second and third mile. Fourth and fifth [miles], you’re gonna run fast regardless just because the adrenaline comes back at the end of the race—you don’t wanna lose to people.


What’s your favorite post-meet meal?

I’m going to go with Pancheros [Mexican Grill] … or Culver’s and Dari Barn.


Which is better, track or cross country?

Cross country, hands down. Track is just training for cross country.


What’s the most bizarre moment you’ve experienced on a run?

It would probably be when, on a run two years back, we got a little bored on a run. There was a dead raccoon on the side of the road and we dared one of the guys to pick it up and swing it around his head and run with it for a while. We didn’t think he’d do it, but sure enough he picked it up and ran with it for 100 meters and then threw it in a ditch.


If you couldn’t run and had to choose another sport to participate in, what would it be?

Probably climbing or cycling. That’s probably what I’ll do after I graduate—take a long, long break from running.


What’s the best and worst part of living in the $lum?

The worst part is you can’t go barefoot there. The last person that went barefoot got a staph infection. So that’s definitely a drawback. Probably the best part is the tradition of it. I think the team’s [been renting] it for about 28 years. You find new stuff there every day. It’s pretty gnarly. Just all the stuff on the walls, you have medals going back all the way back to the 80’s, all the conference medals. It’s just kind of cool knowing that this person that went on to become an All-American, has the same room that you did. It really embodies the program.


What’s your favorite class you have taken at Grinnell?

Probably American Immigration Politics with Rebecca Hamlin or Geographical Analysis and Cartography.


If you could have one superpower, what would it be?

I know it’s ripping off the poster in ARH about Obama’s superpower, but the ability to speak any language.

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