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June 26, 2020
GETTING TO KNOW…..CHELSEA BENSON
High School you attended?
Kane High School (PA) - 2000
College you attended?
Undergraduate: Allegheny College (PA) - 2004
Graduate: Humboldt State University (CA) - 2009
Major in College?
BA: Psychology & English;
MA: Environmental Studies
Public Programs Coordinator, Cornell Lab of Ornithology
Your marathon history?
2017 Philadelphia 2:50:22
2018 California International 2:42:27
2019 Twin Cities 2:40:24
2020 Olympic Trials 2:47:05
Tell us about your Olympic Trials experience in Atlanta:
Atlanta was simply amazing. The Atlanta Track Club treated all the athletes like professionals. I was pretty star-struck seeing America's fastest marathoners! The race was as billed - tough! But running with a huge pack helped and the fans yelled so loud that my inside's shook. I didn't have my best race because I had trouble fueling and struggled a bit in the final miles, but I tried to take it all in and enjoy the Trials experience. I definitely hope to make it back to the next Trials.
How did you start running?
I started running in middle school when I realized I was a pretty sub-par soccer, softball, and basketball player. I also could beat the boys running laps in PE, which was a good motivator!
What were your best track times in high school?
I wasn't terribly fast in HS, but here are what I think were my PRs
800m - 2:27
1600m - 5:22
3200m - 12:01
#1 High School highlight?
I competed at the state meet on a 4x800 team and it was a lot of fun running a relay on such a big stage.
What were your best track times in college?
Again, I wasn't very fast in college :)
3000m steeplechase - 11:00
5000m - 18:01
#1 College highlight?
I ran the first-ever NCAA National Championship Division 3 women's steeplechase race which was held in 2003 at Macalester College (MN).
#1 professional highlight?
I don't consider myself a professional but one of my favorite races was the Twin Cities Marathon 2019. I ran my current marathon PR (2:40:24), but the best part was racing with my teammates Julie Quinn and Bailey Drewes. The course was amazing and the fans a lot of fun.
Something unique about you that we might not know about you?
I've been running for many years, but only in the last 5 years have I really hit my stride. I've taken breaks from training and had twins in 2014. So never count yourself out! You'll be surprised what you're capable of.
The Michigan. It's a combination of tempo and fast reps with very little rest.
Favorite Place to Train?
Ithaca is an amazing place to train - so many great trails and country roads. I particularly enjoy running on the Black Diamond Trail and the roads around Ellis Hollow.
Tacos and margaritas.
Anywhere with garden seating! One of my favorite spots in Ithaca is Agava.
Right now, I am into women-led groups: Sylvan Esso, Secret Sisters, I'm With Her, and Neko Case.
Favorite TV Shows?
Handmaid's Tale, Big Little Lies, Game of Thrones, The Office
Annie Proulx, Edward Abbey, Rick Bass
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
What is your preferred social media?
If you could have lunch with one person who would it be?
My brother, Aaron Benson. He lives in Sedona, Arizona, so I am picturing us having a beer surrounded by red rocks blissing out in the sun!
How about dinner?
My husband, Ben Mueller. With young kids at home, we don't get out much and having a date night would be awesome!
Over the years who would have you found to be the best training partner?
Someone willing to show up, be positive, challenge ourselves to be faster, grind it out, and be supportive when life gets tough. Luckily, I have a big community of training partners here in Ithaca. I am very thankful for the miles we put in together and it's hard to name just a few but I consistently train with Bailey Drewes, Courtney Martin, Ellie Pell, Ved Gund, Luca Moreschini, Greta Sieve, Bella Burda, Julie Quinn, and Bill Watson.
Your Role Model?
My best friend from graduate school, Lenya Quinn-Davidson. She's made a name for herself in a male-dominated field - prescribed fire. She's super smart, hilarious, a fellow mom, an artist, and passionate about life.
Shalane Flanagan is such a class act. She leads by example and has really brought American women's distance running to the forefront.
What do you foresee yourself doing in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
I love where I live (Ithaca) and work (Cornell), so hopefully, I'll still be running the hills and waterfront trails with friends. #fasterasamaster
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