Sam Chelanga wins men’s elite division at the AJC Peachtree Road Race

Sam Chelanga won the men’s elite division of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race on Sunday morning as the AJC Peachtree Road Race returned in-person for the second day Sunday for the holiday tradition.  Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.shin@ajc.com
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Sam Chelanga won the men’s elite division of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race on Sunday morning as the AJC Peachtree Road Race returned in-person for the second day Sunday for the holiday tradition. Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.shin@ajc.com

Credit: Hyosub Shin

The third time proved to be the charm for Sam Chelanga, who won the men’s division of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Peachtree Road Race on Sunday morning in his third time running the event, beating Fred Huxam by only two seconds with a time of 28:43.

“I love this,” said Chelanga, clutching the American flag in one hand and a copy of the AJC in the other. “It’s Independence Day, and this epitomizes the meaning of the Fourth of July. I couldn’t imagine another way to celebrate. This is awesome.”

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The three top finishers all finished within six seconds of each other, making for about as close a photo finish as the Peachtree could hope for. The competition is what Chelanga loves about the event.

Well, the competition and the hills.

“For a road race that’s fun because you get the uphills and the downhills, and it just brings the best out of you,” Chelanga said. “You have a lot of elites that are very talented, and you’re just trying to make a move, and then they’ll make a move.”

The past two months were filled with preparation and training for both the Olympic trials last weekend and Sunday’s Peachtree.

Chelanga said he runs about 100 miles a week, goes to the gym twice a week and did a bunch of track workouts, which helped with his speed Sunday.

“You have good races and you have bad races, but you just keep learning,” Chelanga said. “I’ve been gone from my family for about 10 weeks training in Colorado for the Olympic Trials, so I’m excited to get back with my three boys and wife and just kick back a little bit.”

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