Athletics Exclusive spoke to 2013 Zatopek 10 winner Sam Chelanga after the race.
Athletics Exclusive – Sam, firstly congratulations on your victory in the 10,000m, when did you arrive in Australia and how long will you be staying?
Sam Chelanga – Thank you, I got here on Monday 9th December and I will be flying back to the U.S on Saturday.
Athletics Exclusive – And how have you enjoyed your time here?
Sam Chelanga – I have really enjoyed my time in Australia, David McNeill, who I have raced with in the NCAA and his family have been really great to me and really looked after me well. We have done a few good runs together around the lake in Albert Park and near Dave’s house along the Yarra River Trail. Now that the race is over I’m hoping to spend my remaining time here seeing some sights in the city, hoping to see some kangaroos actually.
Athletics Exclusive – Ha Ha, actually if you run east along the Yarra Trail up to Eltham you can see them in the paddocks there just hopping around, doing their thing. Moving to the race, it seemed to be that from 6km in you were looking to put a few surges in and take control of the race.
Sam Chelanga – I felt at that stage we were not going very fast and I wanted to keep the pace honest right through the race, so I got out in front. I was happy that Collis (Birmingham) came with me and worked to help keep that honest pace.
Athletics Exclusive – At 800m to go you made your move and opened a significant gap, the race was yours then; you could have stopped, made yourself a cup of tea and still won. Was that the strategy coming into the race, what were you thinking at the time?
Sam Chelanga – (laughs) I was thinking I could really use a cup of tea now, Na, I could feel Collis slowing a little at that stage and I’m not a good kicker so I didn’t want it to come down to a sprint. I didn’t know if Collis was tiring or if he was slowing to save for a kick and I really wanted to win the race, winning a race it’s always a great feeling so I went at 23 laps and just said I will hold on and fight for as long as I can and whatever happens happens. If I win, great, if not I gave my best.
Athletics Exclusive – Sam where do you see your future? Is it in the 5k & 10k on the track or on the roads in the longer races?
Sam Chelanga – I think I will be a great marathoner. I feel I can go sub 60 in the half, I think a 27:08 10k guy should be able to break 60 in the half marathon. I will go to Europe next year in the summer for the first time and run some races there, hopefully Nike will be able to put on a 10k in Eugene at Prefontaine and I will look to race Stanford. My aim is to qualify for World Champs in 2015 on the track and then in the marathon in Rio in 2016.
Athletics Exclusive – Sam, thank you so much for your time and we’re looking forward to seeing you represent America at Beijing and Rio.