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The NCAA 10,000m-record holder will try his hand at 13.1 miles.
Written by Chris Lotsbom
(c) 2011 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved. Used with permission.
The Boston Athletic Association announced that Sam Chelanga, John Korir, and Caroline Rotich will headline the elite athlete fields at this weekend’s B.A.A. Half Marathon, to be run through Boston’s Jamaica Plain and Dorchester neighborhoods on Sunday. The 26-year-old Chelanga, the NCAA record holder for 10,000m with a 27:08.39 personal best, will be making his debut at the half-marathon distance.
A 14-time all-American while at Liberty University, Chelanga will be returning to Boston, the same city in which he made his professional racing debut at the B.A.A. 10K last June. Last month, the native of Nairobi finished second at the CVS Caremark Downtown 5K in 13:45.9.
But Boston is a city that is very close to Chelanga’s heart. After his brother Joshua finished third at the 2001 Boston Marathon, an inspired Chelanga began training seriously again, dedicating himself to one day make it to the streets of Boston.
“I began to dream of Boston and the Boston Marathon. I dream of running down Boylston representing the country that has given me so much. Each day, I am one step closer,” wrote Chelanga in a posting on Facebook dated June 23.
At the B.A.A. 10K, he emphasized his love of the city, saying “it’s something you read and dream about. I saw the huge CITGO sign, and I’m like ‘wow, this is a dream.'”
Though he won’t be running by the famed CITGO sign or through the heart of downtown Boston on Sunday, Chelanga will have to deal with defending champion Korir, who ran 1:02:21 to earn the victory a year ago. Also in the field is 2007 winner Samuel Ndereba, American Fernando Cabada, and Kenyan veteran Gilbert Okari, the course record holder at two prestigious New England races: the Falmouth Road Race and Beach to Beacon 10-K.
Kenyan Caroline Rotich, who will be running the ING New York City Marathon on November 6, returns to Boston as the event record holder and defending champion. Her personal best of 1:08:52 is the fastest in the field, which includes Kenyan compatriot Jane Kibii and American Janet Cherobon-Bawcom, the reigning USA 20K and 10 mile road running champion. Cherobon-Bawcom, a Kenyan-born athlete who ran for Harding University under the name Janet Kogo and has been cleared by the IAAF to represent the USA in international competition, is preparing for the USA Olympic Marathon Trials in Houston in January.
Featuring a prize purse of $30,000, with $5000 going to the winners, the B.A.A. Half Marathon is in its 11th year.