STRS winner races in street clothes
BRECKENRIDGE Sam Chelanga, a 22-year-old student and track star from Liberty University in Virginia, wasnt originally planning to run in this seasons third Nike Summit Trail Running Series event at Peak 9. But his friend and Liberty teammate, Jordan Whitlock, challenged him to race in his street clothes. Chelanga couldnt resist and won the 12K with a time of 46:08.I was just going to come with my friend, he said. He challenged me that if I raced in my clothes, I wouldnt beat him.According to Whitlock, he was going to try to overpower Chelanga, but stomach cramps put him out of the race prematurely. Hes one of the best in the country, Whitlock added. I figured the only way I was going to have a shot at beating him is if he wears his jeans and a collared shirt. He had the second fastest 5K time in the nation this year. He ran 13:46. Hes the top returner for next year.Chelanga has qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 5K and he also won the Penn Relays 10K title.Originally from Nairobi, Kenya and a resident of Virginia, Wednesdays winner currently lives in Leadville for summer training with two of his teammates. Were doing some altitude training at 10,000 feet, Whitlock said. Getting ready for the cross-country season.April Thomas, who won the womens long with a time of 53:47, has won all three STRS events this year.And the 186 runners (a new record) participating in Wednesdays race truly got down to business, battling difficult ascents on a new course. Last years Peak 8 terrain was inaccessible due to construction at its base. Youll start up and up and up and up and then youll come down, Stacey Todd, Brecks recreation coordinator, told participants at the start by Peak 9s service road under cloudy skies and dangling lift chairs. There were groans and smiles as runners readied for the Go!By the time many reached the Ten Mile Station, runners were huffing and puffing, red in the face and feeling the gnarly terrain, said Laura Eilers, STRS volunteer. This was par for the course, due to a 1,400-1,500 elevation gain over the whole course. Most people were definitely struggling with it, she added. But everyone was always cheerful. Theyd say thank you and smile when they could muster it.According to Norm Stein, a 64-year-old Breck resident whos raced with STRS for the past five years, this seasons Breck format was simply more challenging compared to the course on Peak 8.All questioned runners agreed that Wednesdays course was extremely challenging the most difficult terrain by far this summer. Once you got to the top, it wasnt just straight down, Stein said. It was rolling across, up and down. … I pay to train for pain. This race was much tougher (than the past two this season). You warm up and now you just start raising the bar.STRS ResultsWomens long1. April Thomas, 53:47; 2. Helen Cospolich, 55:23; and 3. Kim Eytel, 58:32.Mens Long1. Sam Chelanga, 46:08; 2. Dylan Olchin, 49:41; and 3. Scott Oberbreckling, 50:48.Womens short1. Cali Greksa, 36:36; 2. Tess Olson, 39:20; and 3. Heather Quarantillo, 39.25.Mens short1. Zach Armstrong, 31:42; 2. Bob Cottrell, 34:58; and 3. Paul Olson, 35:13.Caitlin Row can be reached at (970) 668-4633 or at email@example.com.
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