LET'S TALK MOUNTAIN RUNNING EPISODE 6: CHRISTIAN ALLEN (USA)
Christian Allen (USA) born in 1999 in West Jordan, Utah, has been one of the multiple 2023 Valsir Mountain Running World Cup revelations. Part of the Trail Team founded by Andrew Wacker (USA), Christian is a two-time All-American in Cross Country, and has some interesting timing in 5.000 m 13:34:06 and 10.000 m 28:25:35. Dedicated athlete, driven by a profound passion for the sport and love for his family, in the current season, he participated in 4 different Valsir Mountain Running World Cup races, one associated race and finished his entire 2023 season with his first marathon and clocking 2:15:01.
LET'S TALK MOUNTAIN RUNNING EPISODE 6: CHRISTIAN ALLEN (USA)
THE HUMBLE PODIUM MACHINE
Christian Allen (USA), landed in Europe in August, firstly to participate representing the USA at the WMRA Associated Race Challenge Stellina and finished second after Joe Steward (GBR). Short after Stellina, Christian claimed a double podium in his first two Golden Label Valsir Mountain Running World Cup races: 2° place at Vertical Nasego and 3° the day after at the Trofeo Nasego.
Results in Italy that made him coming back one month later to run the World Cup Finlaissima in Gran Canaria, Spain, where Christian hit again a double podium weekend: 3° at the Uphill race at the Finlaissima in Gran Canaria, and won just one day later the Finalissima Sky Gran Canaria Long distance.
At the end of the season, Christian Allen (USA) has finished 5° in the Men's overall Valsir Mountain Running World Cup during his inaugural participation in the World Cup, Christian consistently displayed remarkable competitiveness and an unwavering athlete's determination, persistently aiming to achieve higher positions with every new challenge.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM, WHAT IS YOUR HOMETOWN AND WHERE DO YOU LIVE NOW?
I am from West Jordan, Utah, also known as the legendary Dub J. I now currently live in Orem, Utah.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCE COMPETING IN THE VALSIR MOUNTAIN RUNNING WORLD CUP 2023?
This was my first experience, racing internationally, and I can’t think of a much better way to have done it. The hospitality, the friendships made, and the excellent competition, along with fun and challenging race courses was perfect.
My first time traveling to Europe was in Italy, where I raced on the World Cup series. Italy definitely has a special place in my heart. The beauty of the mountains, the amazing/delicious food, and the very kind and warming people made my experience fantastic.
I was extremely impressed with how WMRA treated the athletes and organized the races. The courses were all very well marked and very challenging. I love courses that challenge me and push me to my limits.
MOUNTAIN RUNNING IS A PHYSICALLY DEMANDING SPORT. COULD YOU SHARE SOME INSIGHTS INTO YOUR TRAINING AND PREPARATION LEADING UP TO THE WORLD CUP? HOW DO YOU TRAIN IN WINTER? DO YOU COMBINE DISCIPLINES SKI, BIKE, RUNNING?
I train six days a week and take Sundays off in respects to my religion. However, in the six days I am often putting 80 to 120 miles with up to 25,000 feet of it vert.
In my big mileage weeks I’m often on my feet for 15 to 16 hours. I train pretty much year-round and get about two weeks off of running. In the winter months, I run more roads as the trails get a bit hard to run with a lot of snow. I do still really enjoy trail running in the snow but most trails aren’t as runnable or groomed and in the winter I’m often training for indoor track or road running.
I’m hoping to get into Skimo or Nordic skiing this winter or next to get some low impact high cardio training.
SPONSORSHIP PLAYS A SIGNIFICANT ROLE IN AN ATHLETE'S SUCCESS. COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR SPONSORS/TEAM?
I am currently unsponsored and reaching out trying to reach out to brands. While I am not currently sponsored, I do have some great teams/resources that have helped me succeed. The Trail Team along with my local running store Runner’s Córner. They have helped provide some gear along with travel assistance to get to races which has been a big help while trying to travel to the best events in the world. On top of some monetary help both teams have been extremely helpful in providing mentorship along this new journey, which I think has been invaluable in my rookie trail season.
WITH 16 RACES IN 8 DIFFERENT COUNTRIES, EACH COURSE HAD ITS UNIQUE CHALLENGES. CAN YOU HIGHLIGHT
This year I was only able to race at two WMRA Gold label races in Trofeo Nasego and the final in Gran Canaria.
- THE BEST LANDSCAPE RACE- Trofeo Nasego
- THE FASTEST- Gran Canary Uphill
- THE MOST DIFFCIULT/TECHNICAL- Vertical Nasego
THE COMPETITION IN THE MOUNTAIN RUNNING WORLD CUP IS FIERCE. HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN A COMPETITIVE EDGE AND STAY MOTIVATED THROUGHOUT THE SEASON?
I never want to show up to a race unless I’m going to give it my best effort. Knowing that I don’t want to show up unless I’m ready to give my best effort helps me stay motivated and consistent in my training. I also make and write goals which I then vocalize and those goals so others can keep me accountable. While I have a busy life outside of running it makes me have to stay disciplined and not slack in the small things. Staying disciplined and diligent in the small things goes a long way and I know that the small and simple things lay the foundation for success.
CAN YOU SHARE ANY PRE-RACE RITUALS OR MENTAL TECHNIQUES YOU RELY ON TO KEEP YOUR PERFORMANCE CONSISTENT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD CUP?
I don’t do anything too crazy. I like to listen to music while I warm up if it’s convenient but if not no biggy. Right before the race goes off I always make sure to say a prayer and thank God for the opportunity to be there & to help me to just have fun and enjoy the experience he has given me. Leading up to the races and the day of the race I like to repeat positive reaffirmations and additive statements until I believe they are true. I know we can only be as good as we believe we can be, so self belief is an important component of performing at a high level.
FINALLY, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE RACE/MOMENT DURING THE VALSIR MOUNTAIN RUNNING WORLD CUP, AND WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL TO YOU?
While it’s hard to pick a favorite memory like picking a favorite kid, I would say my first experience racing internationally and at WMRA in Trofeo Nasego was my favorite. The competitors, the course, the hosts, and those affiliated with the race course made it a memory I won’t forget. The area was gorgeous, in a little Italian villages with beautiful nature and trails to enjoy all week. The friendships made, laughed shared, adventures created while in Lodrino will last forever!
Thanks for all you guys do!
More about Christian Allen (USA) you can follow his Instagram here.
All pictures © WMRA- Marco Gulberti