Sunday, November 9, 2014


Sometimes, good things DO happen to good people. Of course, it helps when a good person is dedicated and goal-oriented.

Father Chris Zelonis is a Roman Catholic priest who looks like a white-Kenyan. His story is featured in the chapter, "Extraordinary," in my latest book, "Personal Best." Standing at 5 foot, four inches tall, he is ideally built for distance running.

It wasn't always that way, however.

During his days as a seminarian, he ballooned to a weight of 180 pounds, but by 2009 he had pared down to a lithe 130.

He became more and more addicted to our drug of choice: distance running. His ran his first marathon in September 2013, clocking a time of 3:36:12, but he knew he could do better. A couple of marathons later he had dropped his time to the low 3:20s, but at age 38, he had a definitive goal in mind: he wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but it would require lopping at least 10 minutes off his marathon time to reach the 3:10 standard for the open division.

Chris possesses the physical tools, and his commitment to excellence is unsurpassed. He merely need a running 'recipe.'

During the summer, he graciously edited my book, and he read (and corrected) the chapter, "Super Sevens."

After some discussion, we concluded that the "Super Seven" concept would work for him.

Combining the key components of "Super Sevens," speed work and quality long runs, his summer and fall workouts were always at or below his target times.

Money in the bank, he toed the line, under ideal weather conditions at the Harrisburg (Pennsylvania) Marathon today.

My daughter, Kelly, ran the first leg of the marathon relay, so she was there to report to her dad, Chris' coach, his race progress. When she texted me that he was near the 3:05 pacer, I felt confident. His high-quality, intense long runs would not fail him.

Father Chris Zelonis crossed the finish line in a remarkable time of 3:08:46, a mere 14 months out from his first marathon. He placed 39th overall, 11th in his age group, and he annihilated his personal best marathon time.

Good things DO happen to good people. Chris Zelonis' best running days do, indeed, lie ahead.
                                                              Father Chris Zelonis