Sam Chelanga Still Dreaming Of Boston; Will Compete In B.A.A. 5-k Sunday - RRW
SAM CHELANGA STILL DREAMING OF BOSTON; WILL COMPETE IN B.A.A. 5-K SUNDAY
By Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2012 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
BOSTON (13-Apr) -- Since Sam Chelanga's first professional race here in Boston last June, things have changed for the diminutive 27-year-old Kenyan. He now has a sponsorship, an elite training group, and is beginning to establish a professional career, three things the Liberty University graduate was missing when he finished fourth at the inaugural B.A.A. 10-K in 2011.
"It's a good change," noted Chelanga, who is signed up for all three legs of the inaugural B.A.A. Distance Medley Relay, a series announced by the Boston Athletic Association that awards $100,000 to one male and one female athlete who total has the lowest cumulative time between three of the B.A.A.'s events: Sunday's 5-K, June's 10-K, and October's Half-Marathon.
Chelanga said that he has enjoyed his new surroundings, training under Mark Rowland in Eugene, Ore., as part of the Oregon Track Club Elite.
"When you compare it to college, I'd say it's a good change, because now you're more relaxed and focused and you have professional help. And you have the time, you don't have to go to class!" said Chelanga. "I'm starting to get used to the new training regimin, because I never did gym stuff before."
Before the B.A.A. 10-K last June, Chelanga expressed his love of Boston, saying that ever since his brother Joshua finished third in the 2001 Boston Marathon, he has envied the city, dreaming of its famed CITGO Sign and John Hancock building. In the eleven years since then, Chelanga's adoration for the city has only grown.
"The dream is only getting better. And to think, I mean, what if I win the $100,000 here [from the Distance Medley Relay]," said Chelanga with a smile.
On Sunday, Chelanga will face Ethiopia's Ali Abdosh and defending champion Ben True, among others, in a race that finishes across the same yellow painted finish line as the Boston Marathon. He predicts a time around 13:30 will be needed to win the race.
The 14-time All-American, though, most looks forward to the day when he can cross that same line after running through the eight cities and towns that make up the Boston Marathon course.
"All your dreams, the anticipation. It's going to be a great day when I do it," he said, a twinkle clearly visible in his eyes, the excitement building in his voice. "A couple years, maybe one or two. I'm coming."