Philip Han-Lemus sprints towards greatness


For a lot of people, running is not something done for fun. But for a few people, all-out sprinting is enjoyable.

Philip Han-Lemus ’16, one of Staples’ top sprinters, is one of those seldom few. “I really enjoy the rush I get while running,” Han-Lemus said.

Han-Lemus joined the Staples Indoor Track Team in the winter of his freshman year and by sophomore year, he qualified for states. Although he has always been fast, Han-Lemus still says he needs to work hard.
“[Being a sprinter] requires a lot of persistence with workouts, you have to be really consistent,” Han-Lemus said. “You can’t just bulls— your way through training.”

Han-Lemus’ personal records include a 200m sprint at 23.84 seconds, as well as a 38.17 second time for 300m. He is also part of a 4×400 team (with track captain Luis Cruz ’15, James Lewis ’16 and Denzel Robinson ’15) that won a silver medal at the 33rd Yale Interscholastic Track Classic on Jan. 17 with a collective time of 3 minutes 31.06 seconds.
“Without [Han-Lemus], our 4×400 wouldn’t be complete,” Cruz said. “He is one of our most important sprinters.”

Track coach Laddie Lawrence agreed, saying Han-Lemus is “joining a select category” of great athletes.

One of Han-Lemus’ attributes that have helped him reach this level is his fervency during a meet. Leading up to a race, he prefers solitude and quiet over pep talks and music.

“I find music really distracting. I just try to be in tune with myself as much as possible,” Han-Lemus said. “I am my own pump up music.”
Lawrence also noticed this trait during Han-Lemus’ races. “When he runs, he is very intense, focused and thorough,” Lawrence said. “Some runners slow up close to the finish line. We always tell runners to run five meters past the finish line, but we don’t have to tell him that.”

Despite wanting to stay within himself, Han-Lemus still enjoys attention. He always wears “the brightest green shoes as possible, so when I’m on the track, I stand out the most.”

Han-Lemus also enjoys the praise he garners through his successes. He cites his proudest moment on the team as being when Lawrence recognized his accomplishments at the End-of-the-Year Banquet after his sophomore season. “That’s all I ever really wanted since joining the team,” Han-Lemus said.

Lawrence lists Han-Lemus as Staples’ best runner in the 200m and 300m sprints (with times of 12.25 seconds and 23.84 seconds), and says he is one of the best 400m sprinters on the team. He also sees a bright future for Han-Lemus.

“If he keeps improving the way he’s improving, he’ll probably break 50 seconds in the 400m,” Lawrence said.

To put that into perspective, that’s the equivalent of running the length of four football fields in 50 seconds. The average speed someone has to be running to go that far that fast is a blistering 18 miles per hour.

Cruz also has high hopes for Han-Lemus.

“If he keeps getting better, he will earn a spot at nationals,” Cruz said. “I believe in him.”