Here’s the full interview with Jim Johnson after the Whitaker Woods Snowshoe Scramble on Sunday. It was an interesting conversation, going beyond the race of the day and examining the possibilities of some of the area’s elite strapping on the snowshoes. Of course it led to an open call for Ben True and Sam Chelanga to put the shoes on and mix it up with the locals. Ben hails from Maine so it should be easy for him. On the other hand, Sam went on the level back in September and made it clear he wasn’t intimidated by the thought of experiencing his first ever New England winter. Well, Sam could prove it by jumping into one of these races. He could even do it discretely, maybe by registering as Sam C. Yeah, that would be clever.
Tag: Sam Chelanga
As I drove home from work Thursday night, I could see my cell phone in its mount continuously lighting up. Uh oh, something big must be happening. Rupp was in town to make a run at the American indoor 5k record at BU. I was there last year when Rupp nearly broke the American mile record, and was pissed I was missing this attempt. Not only was able to witness a great race followed by an impressive workout in 2013, but I also had the chance to photobomb my own picture with a few legends (you read that right). None of that would be happening this time.
On the track tonight was Rupp, along with Sam Chelanga and Cam Levins. Cam was going for the Canadian national record. Not to be forgotten was Ruben Sança, who was looking to take down his own Cape Verdean national record. A couple of national records were at stake and the right ingredients were in place for it: a loud crowd, a fast track and people to run with.
For various reasons, none of the Level Brain Trust could be there but we have our ways of getting remote updates. Joe Navas was getting texts from Mike Merrill and relaying them to the rest of us. I was excited when I saw the news pop up but, being the safe driver that I am, I couldn’t even respond.
Sure, it’d be better to actually be there, but Joe sums it up nicely with his texts about being cheap and great journalism. It brings a special character to what we do. We’ll get by the best we can with what we have to work with, even if it is just off the cuff screen shots and rough video. It’s the underground, baby!
Joe and I are on Whirlaway along with both Ruben Sança and Nick Karwoski. I was happy when I saw their results, but also shocked. Their times were so fast that I had trouble processing them. I’m not trying to say that I had some special foresight and knew the times were off, not at all. It was more like ‘Holy shit my two Whirlaway teammates are running sub 13:45 indoors?! Are you kidding me? I need to step up my game!’
When the dust settled, Ruben did not lower his national record of 13:56. Instead he ran a still very fast 14:14.79. Right on his heels was Nick in 14:17.80. Wow. The grand prix series will be pretty competitive this year if these guys can keep that up! Too bad they had to calm the fervor a bit post race, but it’s not like anybody’s going to be disappointed in those times.
The results have since been updated, but it might take some time for everybody to see that the initial ones were not accurate.
Up front, Rupp, Chelanga and Levins were out in their own world. As has already been widely reported (and seen live by many of you), Levins ended up getting a new Canadian record of 13:19.16 and Rupp set a new high water mark for Americans with his 13:01.26. In the aftermath of Rupp’s new AR it’s easy to overlook the fact that Sam Chelanga also went well under Lopez Lomong’s old AR of 13:07. Chelanga ran a 13:04.35 and looked very strong the whole way.
Thanks again to Mike Giberti, we have video of the race available for all to see here:
Sam Chelanga is back on the Level, this time for a strong showing in his first big test since coming back from his stress fracture. Sam ran a 13:59 to place fifth overall and seemed to be right in contention until about a half mile to go. It was at that point where one runner decided to make a crazy move and collided with a couple of others.
When Sam started to recount his story, he mentioned it was a guy that shot out to the front right away. I didn’t catch it at the time when he said ‘Ethiopian’, and my mind immediately went to Pat Fullerton. From my vantage point on the hill all I could see was the start and finish and the last I saw of the runners heading out was Pat out in front by a few strides. Total case of mistaken identity. Pat’s early lead was nothing compared to the lead the guy in question here had through the first half of the race.
That “move” did look pretty bad and it was interesting to here Sam’s take on it. At the time I hadn’t seen it so I didn’t realize it was that bad. There’s contact in track, sure, but something to that extent would probably get you DQ’d. It takes a special lack of judgement to barrel into people like that out on the roads. Between the early race lead and the late race contact, it makes you wonder just what that guy’s strategy was.
Feature photo on main page is courtesy of Scott Mason Photo.
Sam Chelanga looked pretty solid on Saturday as he cruised to a 23:54.3 8k in winning the Dartmouth Invitational. Sam did not count in the scoring though. Will Geoghegan (Dartmouth) was the top collegiate runner and crossed the line merely seconds behind Chelanga. Will led the Dartmouth boys to a second place showing with his 23:57.6. The top team on the day was Syracuse, but it was pretty close. The top fourteen runners (not counting Chelanga) all hailed from either Syracuse or Dartmouth. Syracuse placed their top six in the first nine and edged out Dartmouth by 10 points (24 to 34).
Sam moved out to the Hanover, NH area on August first, citing family as the reason for the move. The Chelanga’s knew they wanted to head back east, but where exactly was up in the air. Sam’s buddy Ben True helped persuade him to come train with Ben and Mark Coogan. For now it was just a geographical move. As of this interview, Sam was still a member of the Oregon Track Club. In the interview below, Sam opens up a little more about the race, the move, training and whether or not he’s ready for a New England winter: