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Chelsea Benson

Chelsea Benson is one of the best runners I know. I am so lucky to have her as a training partner. She is the embodiment of hard work and how it pays off. Not long ago, she was a pretty good marathon runner. Now, she’s so freaking fast, my stomach rumbles at the thought of doing workouts with her. She has a half marathon PR of 1:17, which she acquired during her build up to an Olympic Trials Qualifier at CIM in 2018.

As a youngster, I tried a slew of sports including softball, basketball, and soccer. Ultimately, I decided my talent was in running the bases and chasing others down the court and not in scoring goals or shooting baskets. I quickly found my groove running cross country and track throughout my middle school and high school years in Kane, Pennsylvania.

I attended Allegheny College (Meadville, PA, '04) and continued to compete, qualifying for DIII NCAA Nationals on several occasions. My primary events were the 5K and the steeplechase.

Post-college, I was pretty burned out from 10 years of training and racing. I still ran most days, but rarely raced or only raced distances that were "new" to me: 15Ks, half-marathons, and a few terrible marathons. In 2011, I had a bit of a resurgence. As the assistant high school track coach in Hudson, New York, I decided to walk-the-walk, or more like run-the-run. I started doing workouts (sporadically), joined the Kinderhook Runner's Club, and signed up for races.

Life took over and my running took the back-burner. I had twins in 2014 and moved from the Hudson Valley to Ithaca, New York. Wanting to get out the of house and have a mommy "break," I decided to take running more seriously. I had the good fortune to meet Julianne Quinn, Red Newt chief organizer and major speedster, shorty after my arrival in Ithaca. She introduced me to the running community (including Miss Ellie Pell) and was kind enough to share her training plans.

I have hitched myself to this group of speedy runners and am having a blast. Since joining the Red Newt team and being coached by Jon Clemens, I have lowered my collegiate 5K PR to 17:55 (I really want to crush this distance again soon), run a 1:17:06 at the Brooklyn Half-marathon (May 2018), and slashed my marathon PR from 2:50 (Philly 2017) to 2:42 (CIM 2018). OTQ, woot! I am looking forward to continuing to chase fast times with the group of fast ladies here in Ithaca! Oh yeah, I am also REALLY looking forward to the Olympic Trials in Atlanta in February 2020.