ACCORDING to decorated Olympian Albie Thomas, his fellow St George Athletics Club member Ben St Lawrence is "one of the best".
When St Lawrence lines up in the 10,000 metre race in the early hours of August 5, Thomas, a three time Olympian, will be cheering on from his Kogarah home.
"Some of the stuff Ben has been doing is unbelievable," Thomas, a former three world record holder said.
"He is world class."
The pair first came in contact about eight years ago when the Penrith-born St Lawrence, 30, needed to join an elite club.
He joined St George and formed an immediate bond with Thomas.
"I could see class straight away," Thomas said. "And to mix it with the Africans, which he can, you've got to have class.
"I hope he can finish in the top four."
St Lawrence has overcome personal hurdles on his way to qualifying for the Olympics.
He stopped running for five years and enjoyed the party life.
But his remarkable journey came full circle when he booked his ticket to London by setting an Australian record in the 10,000m in May last year.
He told the Leader from London that five years of training on Christmas and New Year's Day had finally paid off.
"I put my success down to sticking with it through the really hard times," St Lawrence said. "St George is a great club with enthusiasm from grass-roots to an elite level.
"I've been involved with some great team relay events over the years and hope to get the chance to do some more in the future."
St Lawrence will move into the Olympic athletes village on Monday.
Defending two-time Olympics champion and current world record holder Kenny Bekele, of Ethiopia, is the race favourite and Great Britain's Mo Farah is also rated a chance in front of his home crowd.
"I'd be satisfied if I show up on the night in good shape and execute a smart, gutsy race and leaving nothing in the tank," St Lawrence said.
"So many variables can affect the end result that I don't like to put a number down. I'll let you know afterwards if I'm satisfied or not."
St Lawrence will continue to run until at least the world championships next year before considering a switch to triathlons.