Chelanga, Waythomas scorch Alaska 10-K Classic course

IN A HURRY: Winners clock race's fastest times in more than two decades.

August 7, 2010 

Runners zipped across Anchorage on Saturday morning faster than anyone on foot has in more than 20 years.

Not since the mid-1980s have racers posted sub-30 minute times in the Alaska 10-K Classic, one of the state's oldest and fastest 10 kilometer races. But on a cool and cloudy morning, visiting runners Sam Chelanga, the NCAA 10-K record holder from Liberty University, and Mike Reneau, a 2:16 marathoner from Wisconsin, staged a fierce duel on city streets and bike paths from Alaska Pacific University to the Delaney Park Strip.

Chelanga prevailed in 30:07 -- just 7 seconds clear of Reneau.

"It was probably about 200 meters from the base of the hill where he made a move that I couldn't match," Reneau said afterward by phone. "For me to run stride for stride with somebody that good for so long was great -- even if he was out of shape."

In May, Chelanga ran the fastest 10,000 meters in NCAA history, clocking 27:09. That was on a track, without the kind of gut-busting hill Alaska 10-K Classic runners climbed in the final mile ascending U Street from the Chester Creek bike trail to the finish line on the park strip.

But even had Chelanga shaved eight seconds off his time for a sub-30 clocking, he was still far from the 28:35 race record of Anchorage's Don Clary, who ran a sizzling 28:35 time in 1987, three years after competing in the Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.

That record was set on a slightly different course that started and finished in the same place but replaced the nasty uphill finale with a gentler ascent up A Street.

Jerry Ross topped all Alaska competitors with a 32:13 clocking, while a couple of seemingly ageless Alaskans paced the women's field.

Kristi Waythomas, 41, who competed in the 1992 Olympic Trials 10,000-meter run in New Orleans, won in 38:28 -- only about three minutes slower than her Olympic Trials race, when she was 23.

Anchorage's Debbie Cropper, 49, a three-time Humpy's Marathon victor, nearly broke the 40-minute barrier with a 40:11 clocking.

Chelanga is in Anchorage for a few weeks visiting with Liberty teammate Ryan Cox, who finished fourth Saturday.

"It was great having somebody like Sam out there," Reneau said. "Really unexpected."

Reneau made a last-minute decision this week to fly from his training base in Corvallis, Ore., to Anchorage for the race, part of his buildup to a fall marathon and the 10-mile national championship in Michigan later this summer.

After hearing about the race, he researched it on the Internet. Once he heard that past runners included Alberto Salazar and Clary, he figured it was legit.

"It was a perfect excuse to come up and visit Alaska," he said. "It actually came together better than races I've planned to run for months."

And it extended an odd connection with Chelanga.

Back in May, Reneau set his 10-K personal record (29:15) on the track at Stanford in the Peyton Jordan Cardinal Invitational.

The race attracted so many runners, it was broken into two sections. Chelanga set his collegiate 10-K record in the first race, finishing third behind Chris Solinsky, who set an American record of 26:59.6 in the same race.

"After that, I wasn't sure they were even going to run the second race," he said.

In the 5-K race, David Bondi (in 17:11) and Erin Jordan (22:34) took top honors. The 10-K proved more popular with 316 runners, with the 5-K attracting 101.


Reach reporter Mike Campbell at mcampbell@adn.com or 257-4329.


Alaska 10K Classic

10 Kilometers

Top 30 Men -- 1) Sam Chelanga, 30:07; 2) Michael Reneau, 30:14; 3) Jerry Ross, 32:13; 4) Ryan Cox, 33:44; 5) Jacob Kirk, 33:57; 6) Nathaniel Knapp, 34:14; 7) Nathan Twomey, 34:40; 8) Aaron Wheatall, 34:41; 9) Robert Walgren, 35:17; 10) Samuel Cassel, 35:28; 11) Andrew Arnold, 35:33; 12) Noah Hagen, 35:34; 13) Jeff Young, 35:37; 14) Ben Wheatall, 35:42; 15) Andrew Richie, 36:41; 16) Levi Younger, 37:09; 17) Scott Clemetson, 37:24; 18) Jason Burkhead, 37:26; 19) Lamont Hawkins Jr., 38:46; 20) Clive Reynolds, 39:03.

Top 30 Women -- 1) Kristi Waythomas, 38:28; 2) Debbie Cropper, 40:11; 3) Mandy Vincent-Lang, 41:51; 4) Jenette Northey, 42:13; 5) Haley Hughes, 43:21; 6) Kirsten Kolb, 43:43; 7) Kaley Shagen, 44:08; 8) Lisa Dale, 44:31; 9) Jana Grenn, 44:40; 10) Liz Wheatall, 45:03; 11) Tina Moronell, 45:05; 12) Alex Okson, 45:12; 13) Miriam Allen, 45:15; 14) Sheyenne Lewis, 45:35; 15) Erin Skvorc, 46:11; 16) Esther Jurasek, 46:13; 17) Polly Wirum, 46:13; 18) Stephanie Myers, 46:14; 19) Brittany Reed, 46:15; 20) Andra Love, 46:26; 21) Wendy Mitchell, 46:53; 22) Janey Wahlman, 47:51; 23) Tammy Weaver, 47:54; 24) Lesley Yamauchi, 48:29; 25) Jody Kamrath, 48:51; 26) Darlene Cooper, 49:08; 27) Gloria Reyes, 49:21; 28) Patrice Parker, 49:23; 29) Kristen Phillips, 49:32; 30) Melanie Hennis, 49:50.

5 Kilometers

Top 20 Men -- 1) David Bondi, 17:11, 2) Sam Tilly, 17:47; 3) Adam Leslie, 19:40; 4) Chris Kveseth, 19:54; 5) Kevin Sturgill, 20:09; 6) Greg Allen 20:11; 7) Conor Deal, 21:34; 8) Raymond Fain, 22:18; 9) Luke Jager, 23:05; 10) Cole Deal, 23:45; 11) Eric Hanson, 24:01; 12) Sanguarak Peau, 24:06; 13) Carson Baxter, 24:24; 14) James Neil, 24:35; 15) Hector Velasquez, 24:44; 16) Billy Hall, 25:02; 17) James King, 25:38; 18) Bob Eded, 25:45; 19) Dan Baldwin, 25:50; 20) Sam Fox, 26:24.

Top 20 Women -- 1) Erin Jordan, 22:34; 2) Shanna Tadic, 23:51; 3) Kaylin Saur, 24:48; 4) Debbie Neil, 25:25; 5) Shawna Peace, 25:44; 6) Carla Burkhead, 25:59; 7) Kim Watson, 26:01; 8) Felicia Krieter, 27:25; 9) Nathalie Crocker, 28:00; 10) Cassandra Smith, 29:12; 11) Sarah Kirk, 29:35; 12) Rachel Stephens, 29:50; 13) Susan Fison, 30:11; 14) Brenda Cox, 20:15; 15) Tara Fleming, 30:25; 16) Fabiola Membrila, 30:37; 17) Tanya Kirk, 32:17; 18) Jennifer Brown, 32:19; 19) Bailey Leslie, 32:21; 20) Leesha Lowry, 32:25.

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