“I can’t take a semester off or any time off from running because I really want to win, so I have to do everything I can to win,” Lambus said. “I have to train hard and then get in fast races.”
Lambus caught the attention of University City High School track and cross-country coach James Crowe when Lambus was running track in middle school.
“I noticed that he fit the description of an athlete,” Crowe said. “Especially a track athlete, and then he had this competitiveness that he always wanted to win.”
Lambus attended Rend Lake College (Ill.) after graduating from University City High School where he was able to continue running as a part of the Rend Lake team. During his time there he made it to Nationals in cross-country. When Lambus transferred to Meramec, which has no track or cross-country programs, he began going back to University City High School and running with their cross-country team. Crowe offered to do more to help.
“I was like ‘if you really want to get serious about this, let’s talk about me coaching you,’” Crowe said.
Crowe trains many individuals who want to be better long distance runners. He trained Lambus and Webster runner, Ethan Jeffries this past summer. Jeffries holds three Webster cross-country records and finished sixth out of 104 runners in the Gabby Reuveni Early Bird Invitational on Aug. 30.
Crowe said he has watched Lambus grow as an athlete.
“He still has that competitiveness,” Crowe said. “But at first he didn’t understand the work that was involved in becoming a successful athlete, and then as he got older, he learned how hard he had to work, and he established a great work ethic as an athlete.”
Lambus said he was disappointed when he learned he would again be unable to represent his school in competition.
“I was truly mad and sad at the same time because I had met a lot of people on the (Webster) team already from last year, and they were all hoping I could be on the team, and we could make the team better,” Lambus said. “I really wanted to compete at this level and go beyond, but it’s not happening this year.”
Lambus described himself as ‘the guy who knows a lot of people from a lot of different teams’ and though he interacts with them at the races he enters on his own, he can’t prepare for the race with any of them.
“I truly hated that,” Lambus said. “I had to warm up by myself or do stretches by myself, not having anyone to talk to, but when I have music in my ears, I have the added motivation to just power through that and get ready for the race.”
Lambus is currently training on his own in preparation for cross-country races this fall, and track in the spring. He expects to be eligible to wear the Webster colors as a member of the track and field team this spring. He runs and does some light weight lifting to train, and said that once he feels he is in the right shape, he will begin registering for cross country races.
“You have to train a certain amount of mileage to feel likeyour breathing is really easy,”“You have to train a certain amount of mileage to feel like your breathing is really easy,” Lambus said. “Like you can hold a whole conversation for like two hours while you’re running or you feel like you can sing while you’re running, which is really hard to do because you have to breathe also, so when I feel like I can do that, then that’s awesome shape.”
In addition to running, weight lifting and schoolwork, Lambus makes time to play basketball, his favorite sport outside of running. He said he has never played basketball on a team because when large crowds watch him play he becomes very shy and he fears making mistakes. However, he said this is not the case with running.
“(With) running, you just run in a circle or run straight and zig-zags, but I don’t feel like I can mess up in that, so I get pumped actually when I have a group of people, or a stadium full of people. It helps me run faster,” Lambus said.
Crowe said he believes it is important that Lambus focuses on his schoolwork this semester and on developing a relationship with the Webster coaches.
“(Lambus) is willing to do the work that needs to be done to make himself successful,” Crowe said. “He has that competitive drive that you see in really good athletes—that competitive drive to win and to get better.”
The freedom to run fast in a short distance is why Lambus prefers track over cross-country. Jogging is his least favorite aspect of training, but he’ll do whatever it takes to finish strong.
“(With) racing, you’re just going a lot faster, you have competition,” Lambus said. “I think it is just more motivating because you have people in front of you or you know people are behind you so you just want to go faster and try to not lose. Run. Beat people. Win.”