Updated: Sep 10
Team Chaski is back at it again with another epic virtual race event. After our hugely successful and record-smashing treadmill race in June, we've assembled a field of world-class athletes who will be teaming up to race each other as part of the Athletic Brewing Co. Marathon Relay.
Elite athletes from all over the world will be duking it out for prize money – and more importantly, bragging rights – in a year with limited opportunities for team competition. The relay racers will run 10K, 8 mile and 12 mile legs to reach the full 26.2 mile distance.
The elite competition in the Athletic Brewing Co. Marathon Relay will bring in runners from all over the world, ranging from the good ol’ US of A to Japan, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ecuador and South Africa, with seven Olympians and a handful of national record holders ready to throw down. Even though the Olympics are off for another year, we’re doing our best to put together a true international competition. Our athletes will be competing for thousands in prize money, with an extra cash bonus for the best altitude-adjusted time to sweeten the pot an encourage teams not to travel during the COVID Pandemic.
Read below to meet the challengers and see which teams have the best chance of walking away victorious.
How to follow the races - All race details including how to follow live on Saturday, September 12 will be at chaski.run/challenge. In addition to video feeds from the competitors and live commentary, the site will have a visualization showing each runner’s progress vs. each other and the listed world record, and a live blog.
Key teams to watch:
There are sure to be fireworks in the men’s race, where five Olympians and quite a few sub 2:10 marathon performers will square off. They’ll all have their sights set on bettering Eliud Kipchoge’s sub-two, and the smart money is on at least one team dipping under.
Led by 2016 Olympian Jared Ward and NCAA champion Clayton Young, Ed's Elites may be the team to beat on the men’s side. Ward is in phenomenal shape and gearing up for a run at PR at this fall’s elite London Marathon (Ward said he thought he was in 2:08 shape in an interview with Chaski last week).
Team Utah will have their hands full with Los Morlacos out of Ecuador, led by Olympians Byron Piedra (national record holder in the 10k with a time of 27:32) and Segundo Jami.
Team Kenya are the biggest dark horse in the competition, with Joseph Kimeli Kimutai (1:02:24 half marathon) and Michael Cecila Wayua (1:01:36 half) providing arguably the best one-two punch in the field. The Kenyan team’s third runner, 8:06 steepler Tareq Mubarak Taher, will make or break them.
If all three of their runners are in top form, the Kenyans may run away with the whole thing. Kallapa Runners also boast a pair of sub 2:10 marathoners and will be racing at altitude. Eritrean Olympian and 1:00:10 half marathoner Amanuel Mesel will lead Team Flagstaff into battle for top altitude contendors, alongside US World Championship Team Member, Ahmed Osman.
Key teams to watch:
Nomad Distance Project
Team Brave Like Gabe
The women’s race will likely come down to a battle between Team JUSARSA and the ladies from Nomad Distance Project, with Team Zimbabwe entering the fray for the altitude-adjusted bonus. Jusarsa is a tri-continental squad comprised of American Linsey Scherf, Japanese star Shiho Kaneshige and South African Anni Bothma. Scherf and Kaneshige have both run 15:42 for 5k, with the Japanese runner also clocking 2:28 for the marathon. That squad is rounded out by Bothma, a 31:24 performer for 10k.
The Nomad Distance ladies have made a name for themselves the past few years at USATF Club Cross Country, and will be looking to take home another crown. They’re led by studs Molly Grabill and Cally Macumber, who have both run 15:30 for 5k. Grabill, the former Oregon star, also has a 2:34 marathon to her name. The Nomad squad is rounded out by Sri Lankan national record holder Hiruni Wijayaratne, who has also run 2:34 for the marathon.
In the ladies race, you’ll also want to keep an eye on Team Zimbabwe, who will be competing at altitude. They’re led by IAAF World Championships competitor Fortunate Chidzivo and her 32:24 10k PR.
Also of note, two-time Olympian and Boston Marathon Champion Des Linden will lead a team of runners raising money for Brave Like Gabe, allowing two lucky amateurs to see what it’s like to race side-by-side with the pros.
Tune in on Saturday at 6pm EDT to the Chaski Challenge Homepage!