On Monday, Sacramento Republic FC Video Analyst and Camps and Clinics Coordinator Chris Malenab will be among thousands of runners set to race in the prestigious Boston Marathon, the world’s oldest annual marathon. Malenab will join some of the fastest distance runners in the world to make the 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to the Boston finish line.
The Boston Marathon, which is run on Patriots’ Day every year, has deep history of tradition and longevity is one of the few marathons where the entire field is made up of runners who have had to run a qualifying time in another standard certified marathon. For each age and gender, there’s a specific qualifying time but just having a qualifying standard time does not guarantee entrance.
Malenab after the NYC Marathon
In 2013, Malenab logged a run that was 54 seconds under the necessary qualifying time, but because the field is narrowed down to the best times, his time was off by six seconds and he was denied entrance. To qualify for the 2016 Boston Marathon, Malenab ran a 3 hours, 4 minutes and 6 seconds race time in the 2014 California International Marathon. His time was 5 minutes and 54 seconds under his age group qualifying time of 3 hours, 10 minutes and 54 seconds.
A Sacramento native, Malenab has ran over 20 marathons in the course of 12 years, but he ran his first marathon in 2004 simply wanting to check off running a marathon from his bucket list. However, it would eventually become an addiction. He later ran his second in 2006 and then another marathon until 2013. The Boston Marathon will be marathon number 28.
“It’s been kind of a whirlwind of running,” said Malenab. “Part of running is meeting people who are excited to be outside, to be fit and active and there’s not really too much as far as why I do it, it’s just almost become an addiction.”
To fuel his running addiction, Malenab has ran consecutively for more than 100 days. Additionally, Malenab created his own training plan and runs with a training group. He also uses a GPS watch that tracks the distances he is running.
“Having a proper training group and having people that are committing their time to kind of race me on weekends is so important and really helpful,” said Malenab. “I can get into that routine of chasing people down, getting chased and getting the miles in.”
Aside from his full time job with Republic FC and his own training sessions for Boston, Malenab also helps manage a free fitness meet-up called 9Run6. Created by Malenab in 2014, members communicate through a Facebook page and the group meets every Wednesday and Friday.
On each of those days there are three different workouts throughout the early morning, and members are welcome to attend all of the workouts or just one of them. There are workouts at 5:30 a.m., 6 a.m. and 6:25 a.m. and each session is different. The first two sessions are runs while the 6:25 a.m. session is plyometric exercises such as jumping jacks, squats, and sit-ups. The number of reps for each exercise is determined by a pulling a card from deck of playing cards. Malenab encourages anyone, from beginners to fitness fanatics, to try 9Run6.
“It’s like our morning cup of coffee,” said Malenab. “People that would have never crossed paths have come through the program and become friends. People that have come and worked out once or have come consistently for the last two and half years I consider them close friends because they’re trying to chase goals and I’m all about people chasing their goals.”
While Boston is the biggest marathon he will have completed within the United States, Malenab still has some of his own goals to chase down. On his bucket list remain three international marathons: Berlin, London and Tokyo. However, for now he’s focused on the present.
“My main goal going into Boston is to enjoy it and kind of take in everything that Boston has to offer,” said Malenab. “I’ve never been to the city of Boston, and to run a historical marathon, that’s going to be special.”
The Boston Marathon will take place Monday, Apr. 18. The race runs through eight Massachusetts cities and towns, from Hopkinton to Boston. You can watch the live race stream at watchlive.baa.org.