Senior John Lester commits to Stanford and begins preparing for the olympic trials


John Lester

“In 5 years I see myself graduating from Stanford and maybe turning to a professional career in running, and then from there, I’d like to go about my career path in either psychology or something business-related,” said Lester.

Soumya Sahay, AVT Editor-in-Chief

AVHS senior John Lester (‘21) began his track and field career his freshman year, and what began as a fun after school sport that allowed him time with his friends has now become a path to a Stanford level education and olympic level training.

While others have taken Covid as a time to stay home with family and watch unlimited netflix releases, Lester has used it as time to prepare for possibly one of the largest moments in his career: the Olympic trials.

“The next phase of training is geared towards the olympic trials, in 2021, so with Covid, it gave me an extra year to get ready for that. I’m trying to see it as an opportunity more than anything else,” said  John Lester (‘21).

Though he previously practiced alongside the rest of the Amador track team, now John has chosen to train individually, due to personal health concerns.

“I’ve just been training on my own. My dad has a heart condition that basically makes it so that if he were to get Covid, it could be lethal, so I’ve been really diligent about staying distanced from people,”  said Lester.

John has revealed that he is currently prioritizing improving his time in the 800 meter race, as that is what he plans to enter the time trials in Oregon with.

“The mile is a supplement to what I’m trying to do in the 800, and I think it was a byproduct of my 800 m training. I think my 800 time is so much better, relative to my mile, so that’s where my primary focus has been,” said Lester.

Beneath the Surface: 4 x 400 m Race

Music Credits:

Currently, Lester’s most recently recorded mile time is listed at 4 minutes and 6 seconds, and a 1 minute 48 800m. His 800 meter time is just 2 seconds shy of qualifying for the Olympics.

“The 800 is a lot more quick, and aggressive. For the mile, I’m doing workouts where I could be running a pair of 600s with a time of 5-10 minutes of rest in between. And I’ll be running it in, let’s say, 87 seconds, whereas with the 800, I’m working different systems,” said Lester.

Beneath the Surface: Aerobic & Anaerobic Exercise

Music Credits: “That’s Exciting” by Pictures of a Floating World From the Free Music Archive CC BY NC-SA

As John has already committed to Stanford University for his next four years of education, he now has access to some of the top track & field facilities in the world, including professional coaches like Ricardo Santos, Stanford’s Cross Country/Distance assistant coach.

“Coach Santos and I have discussed the implications of this Spring, and if I can run 1:46, 1:45, that puts me in a position my freshman year in college to win the NCAA championship in the 800 meter,” said Lester.

Beneath the Surface: Donavan Brazier

Music Credits: “Self Driving” by Sro From the Free Music Archive CC BY SA

A Stanford acceptance and a spot on a world-renowned track team does not come for free; John recalls what he had to sacrifice over the years to reach his level of success, and how he adjusted his mindset to be able to achieve his goals.

“The lifestyle that came out of [training] forced me to become really focused, really thinking how each and every thing is going to impact today. For example, what has to get done today? How am I going to approach this workout so that I can get the most out of it? How am I going to approach this class or this study session? It cut the crap out of my life. I had to completely cut out social media and focus on the things that were important, which were: school, track, and family. That was the big thing, it forced discipline,”  said Lester.

Beneath the Surface: Robert Sapolsky

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The one thing that Lester advises others who are attempting to pursue their dreams to do, whether that be a professional track career, a medical degree, or even successful career in the arts, is to work hard.

“Hard work, in any form or fashion, will always pay off in the end. The people who really care to work hard, be diligent, and listen to the people who care about them, meaning parents, coaches, friends; those are the people who are going to succeed. I’m just really lucky to have had it fall out the way it did,” said Lester.

Beneath the Surface: Meditation & Psychology in Sports

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