Chaski Challenge: The Best Virtual Running Event of 2020 - Pt 1

March 5, 2021

Stay tuned for a full race recap later in the week including more in-depth analysis, quotes from our elite competitors, and more!

For now, here are some stats and a quick synopsis of the Athletic Brewing Co. Chaski Marathon Relay.

Check out these links for further reading:

Also, if you raced DON'T FORGET YOUR RACE MEDAL (and other merch)-- (ALL swag proceeds go to Brave Like Gabe and Range of Motion Project!)

Total Finishers: 1,244 from 45 US states and 68 countries

5km: 1,026

Marathon: 162

Relay: 56

Total Fans: 13,580 from 82 countries

Total elite participants: 17 teams, 51 athletes, 12 countries, 8 Olympians

Elite winners


Team JUSARSA: 2:17:01

Annie Bothma 1:01:05 12 Miles (19.2km)

Lindsey Scherf 0:41:15 8 Miles (13km)

Shiho Kaneshige 0:34:41 6.2 Miles (10km)


Team Flagstaff: 2:11:50

Julius Kosgei 1:00:49 12 Miles (19.2km)

Amanuel Mesel 0:39:24 8 Miles (13km)

Ahmed Osman 0:31:37 6.2 Miles (10km)

Elite race highlights

In the women’s race, Team JUSARSA (Japan, USA, Republic of South Africa) stole the show with an incredible combined time of 2:17:01, 18 minutes ahead of second place. The tri-continental team ran away from the competition in the first leg (12 miles, 19.2km), in which Annie Bothma ran a world-class 1:01:09, a time which places her in the upper echelon of female half-marathoners. Not to be outdone, American Lindsey Scherf followed suit with an 8-mile (13km) leg in a blistering 41:15, bettering her own personal best for the 10km en route. Shiho Kaneshige of Japan brought the team home with a 34:41 6.2-miler (10km), a solid performance for the 2:28-marathoner coming back from injury.

Conversely, it was a nail-biter on the men’s side, with tri-national Team Flagstaff (Kenya, Eritrea, and USA) taking the victory by 25 seconds over an All-American team of BYU-alums, “Ed’s Elites” 2:11:50 to 2:12:15. Team Flagstaff’s times are most remarkable given that the runners were competing at almost 7,000 ft (2,100m) above sea level.

Yet, before any of the elite competition started, double-amputee athlete Brian Reynolds took a crack at his own 5km world record of 16:39. Brian was on pace through 2 miles and just barely missed the mark in the end, running 17:05.

Ever the optimist, Brain’s first words after the race were “when can we try again?!”

Straight from the winners

Ahmed Osman: Half of the year training has been very difficult knowing there was no racing to aim for because of COVID. So I did not race at all since the Olympic marathon trials, which was my last race.

Amanuel and I chose to race here in Flagstaff because we were very comfortable with the altitude since we were both born in high altitude places, so we knew we were in good spirits to do well going into this competition, but to win both categories [open and altitude-graded] was kind of a surprise to us when we saw the results because I knew we were facing very tough and competitive teams all around that could challenge for the win.

Still, I am glad our team came out on top and super proud of them the way we competed. Very happy with the outcome and also shout out to the second-placed team for their great close battle.

Annie Bothma: I went to Kenya in December last year to train for the Vienna City Marathon in April. I was running almost double my previous mileage, completing my longest runs ever, doing the hardest workouts I have ever done and climbed the steepest hills I have ever seen all at 3200m altitude. However, unfortunately, due to COVID I had to come home early beginning March when all races were cancelled, camps closed down and the borders were shut due to COVID.

Back in South Africa, I stayed on the same template Kenyan program and kept in touch with my coach. I kept my mileage high and did speed work on a weekly basis with the hopes of still being able to participate in a different marathon in the second half of the year. Unfortunately all the marathons I was targeting ended up being cancelled as well.

I’ve run 31:25 and 31:55 10K Time trials, as well as a 15:27 5K in Aug and July, which showed me my form was good, so I was very excited to have an opportunity to compete on a big stage.


Special shoutout to Emilee Hilbish who competed in the Chaski Classic in her wheel-chair, finishing in a time of 23:17!Fundraising HighlightsWe’re still tallying results but we raised over $5,000 for Brave Like Gabe and Range of Motion Project!Stay TunedThanks to all who participated from around the globe! Stay tuned for Part 2 which will include a more in-depth race analysis with quotes from our international elite athletes!

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