By Sgt. Daphney BlackAugust 20, 2019
FORT CARSON, Colo. -- He maintains a steady 6-minute-mile pace for 18 miles - a pace slightly slower than what he ran on his last 10-miler, but he's okay with that. Today, he's just going on a long run.
Logging an average of 90 miles a week, to say that Sgt. Elias Chesire has a great deal of endurance would be an understatement.
Chesire said, "I am not fast,". . . which begs the question, what is his best time on the Army Physical Fitness Test 2-miler?
"I can run that in 8:54," said Chesire, who is assigned to 3rd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division.
"On the Army scale, he is one of the best," said Capt. Bryce Livingston, assistant coach for the World Class Athlete Program at Fort Carson.
Although he is not a member of the WCAP, Chesire has been training alongside their athletes here.
WCAP is not so much about developing runners; it is more about taking already exceptional runners and training them for the Olympics.
At this rate, Chesire is just a couple of seconds shy of a chance to possibly compete in the Olympics.
Chesire hails from a pedestrian culture, where people travel to most places they need to go on foot, whether it be by running or walking. But even given his cultural background, he said he has to work hard to be as impressive a runner as he is.
Chesire, a native of Eldoret, Kenya, started running about 10 years ago right after he graduated from high school. At first, running was just something he would do in his spare time.
One does not become a good runner solely because of genes, nor does it happen because of the place of origin. It takes training and perseverance.
"I'd get asked where I am from," said Chesire. "Then they'd reply with, 'yes, that is why you run so fast,' I just smile, because there is no way you can change somebody's mind."
"It is training; it is nutrition, and there is so much going into it," said Livingston. "They have just figured it out. They have done it right."
"Growing up, I did not take running seriously, because where I am from, education is a priority, so I focused on school," Chesire said. "Then I graduated, and my focus shifted from school to running. I realized that a lot of people do not like running, but I love running. I see running as the activity I can do to keep my health, my focus, and everything."
Chesire said it took him two years of consistent training before he could compete in any event, and the process was not an easy one.
"Training is really hard," said the 6-foot-2, 125 pound aircraft mechanic. "The first year especially because I was getting familiar with all kinds of training - speed run, hill run, and long run."
Chesire said that once he started to grasp the whole running concept, he began to create goals and make plans. To him, running was not merely a hobby, but a way to a better future.
"I wanted to come to the U.S. on an athletic scholarship," he said.
And he did. He became a student-athlete for Florida A&M University.
"I won three conference championships for the school," said Cherise.
Having achieved his goal earning a college degree on an athletic scholarship, his next hurdle was being granted U.S. citizenship.
Enter the U.S. Army.
He has obtained citizenship through his military service, while also being a part of an organization that supports, encourages, and even rewards his love for running.
Chesire said his unit is very supportive and allows him to train with the WCAP athletes.
"He trains with us," said Livingston. "His chain of command has been very kind in allowing him to take some opportunity to train, and I'm certain he pays it back at work. We are very fortunate to have him come and train with us occasionally."
"I run with people who are faster than me," said Chesire. "Sometimes, I get exhausted, but I push through the aches and pains. When you finish a race, and you have done well, it really makes you want to do another one."
He recently ran the Fort Carson 10-miler and qualified for the Army 10-miler team. He is in a pool of very fast athletes, but he is not the fastest.
Bryce said Chesire is a very talented runner and that he is extremely excited to have him on board.
"I would like to see him get faster," said Bryce. "That would be really, really great, but I can say that he will be a huge impact to represent Fort Carson at the Army 10-Miler."
Last year Chesire finished in 8th place overall. This year Chesire said that he is hoping to bring home the title.
"I am just looking forward to running the 10-miler this year, and I want to run faster than last year," said Chesire.
"He will be competing and finishing very well," said Bryce. "I think he and WCAP members will be leading the fight to bring the winning cup again this year.
Perseverance, determination, focus, and rigor are some of the terms associated with running strategies, Chesire said. One needs to have the heart to go through the pains and the gains. It is not an easy process, and it takes more than words to be successful. The most important thing is training.
He doesn't just say he wants to get faster; he puts in the work, the time, the commitment.
"I run more than 60 miles a week," said Chesire. "I may skip a day to allow my body to recover if I am exhausted. But I never skip a week. It takes focus, determination, and hard work to be where I am at today."