Chris Clancy never ran a varsity cross country race for the University of Oregon when he was a student in Eugene, but he's still getting the value of his training with the Ducks.
Clancy, a 2000 Marshall High graduate, trained with Oregon for a year before moving back to Portland and enrolling at Warner Pacific College, where he quickly moved to the top of the Cascade Conference.
This fall, he hopes to retain his Cascade Conference individual title and move up from 40th in the NAIA nationals. It's all part of a gentle progression of running as his lifelong passion.
'It really didn't kick in until this summer how much I love running,' says Clancy, the Portland Interscholastic League cross country champion in 1998 and '99. 'The University of Oregon was a growing experience. It taught me how training has to be in racing conditions for it to be most valuable.
'And it was fun being around people who love running, who think running. I just didn't fully appreciate it then.'
Clancy, 20, begins his junior season Saturday at the Boxer Rebellion in Forest Grove, an 8-kilometer race. He is the defending champion.
A late-season injury during his freshman year at Oregon made Clancy long for the less-expensive confines of Southeast Portland. He bumped into Warner Pacific coach Dave Lee and made the transfer to the Knights, who had brought back their program the year before.
Clancy won six races last fall, including the Prefontaine Memorial Run in Coos Bay. He captured the Cascade Conference title at Lake Sammamish, Wash., setting a course record. He was 40th at the NAIA nationals in Wisconsin.
Clancy says his training, which consists of roughly 45 miles per week, has him ready for another standout year. He hopes to run a sub-4:00 mile during track season next spring.
Ultimately, he hopes to run professionally, either at longer distances or in triathlons.
'I'd love to win the Ironman,' he says. 'I'm riding my bike to work to practice, but I need to improve my swim.'