Neal Chappell enjoying life on the run
Running is the root of athletics.
And for Neal Chappell, it’s a way of life.
The South Lake Tahoe resident has seen it all as a competitive runner. He’s run with Olympic greats such as Tommy Smith and John Carlos in the late and mid- 60s and just recently he won two national titles.
Chappell added the National 8K Cross-Country Championships Nov. 4 in Pasco, Wash., as his latest title to a long-and-illustrious running career.
Almost exactly one year previous, Chappell won the national 10K race in Long Beach on Nov. 29, 1999 – both coming in the master’s division.
“I’ve been running for my whole life,” Chappell said. “Now that I’ve finally won a national title, my buddies give me a hard time about taking so long to do it.”
His journey has taken him from the Santa Clara Valley Youth Village where he competed as an upcoming long distance runner.
From there he moved on to San Jose City College where he became a junior college All-American in the half-mile. During his two years at SJCC, Chappell was on the same team as Carlos and Smith as well as renowned sociologist Harry Edwards.
He then went on to a short stint at the University of North Carolina, but returned to the South Bay to run under Mike Igoli, the famed coach from Hungary who trained many Olympians and world-record holders.
In fact, Chappell, himself, set a pair of world records, when he anchored both the 4 x15,000 and 4 x 16,000 relay teams.
Now, in addition to his exploits on the track, Chappell is trying to raise awareness for seniors about the importance of physical fitness and remaining active.
“Eventually everyone’s body begins to break down,” Chappell said. “The key is how long you can keep going.
“The goal is to provide a little leadership to them.”
He’ll hold lectures every Wednesday night to promote healthy lifestyles and will bring in guest speakers with different knowledge and expertise in fitness and well-being.
Although the location has not yet been determined, Chappell is certain his program will help a great many South Shore residents.
Anyone interested in participating or helping should contact him at (775) 588-1411.
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