Nearly 12,000 turned out for the variety of events at the Thanksgiving Day run at Turner Field and were met with sunny skies and mild temperatures. (Photo courtesy of Atlanta Track Club)

Chelanga nips Erassa in Thanksgiving Day 5K duel

In the Thanksgiving Day 5K held near Turner Field, Sam Chelanga of Colorado Springs, Colo., edged Atlanta Track Club Elite’s Kirubel Erassa, winning in 14 minutes, 21 seconds, four seconds faster than Erassa in what was essentially a rematch of the 2016 USATF 5K Championships.

The event was part of the Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon events that included the half marathon, the 5K, the Georgia One Mile and the 50m dash that included almost 12,000 runners under mostly sunny skies and mild temperatures.

“It’s early in the season, so I don’t know where I’m at; I don’t know where Kirubel’s at. So I pushed him,” Chelanga said. “I wanted to make it fun and push myself.”

The first female in the 5K was Natosha Rogers of Littleton, Colo., who finished in 16:09. Rogers credited Furman University junior Allie Buchalski of Alpharetta, and who placed second in 16:12, with pushing her to the win.

“We were neck and neck the whole time. That last mile was really pushing it for me, but I’m glad I dug deep for the win,” Rogers said. “It was challenging with the hills, but I’m used to running longer races so it went by really quickly.”

The Half Marathon turned into a hometown battle between brothers Jared and Josh Carson. Jared edged his brother 1:11:33 to 1:23:47.

“My competitive edge got the best of me,” said Jared, who now lives in Austin, Texas. “I’ve run this race three or four times now, and I always enjoy coming back and running it.”

The top female in the half marathon has found success on this course before, placing first in 2014 and third in 2015. Annie Kelly, who attended Milton High and competes for the University of Colorado, improved upon her 2014 win (1:25:40) and finished in 1:21:19.

“I probably went out a little fast, but I was trying to break 1:20,” Kelly said. “I honestly started dying around mile 11, but there was a male runner who kept telling me to run and that helped a lot.”

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