Work and dedication

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2016

dsc_6370Harold Allen never expected to end up here. He just wanted to prove the stereotype wrong. He wanted to show the world that even though he was muscular from years of lifting weights, he could take on a marathon and conquer it.

“The decision was made because I always work out a lot and lift a lot of weights,” Allen said. “A lot of people have a frame of mind that you can’t do it. It’s not possible for a big guy to run distance.”

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In the end he didn’t just prove that he could do it once.

He continued to run and in the process found a new passion and a new outlook on life.

“I always just wanted to challenge myself and what I found out was it gave me another passion,” Allen said. “It rejuvenated me in a special way about fitness. It gave me another outlook of looking at fitness and looking at things in life.”

Running has become his outlet and no matter what is going on in his life all he has to do it lace up his shoes, go for a run and everything just melts away.

“You can have a tendency of looking at things in a negative perspective,” Allen said. “When you’re going through trials and tribulations, you go out and you get yourself a good run and you’ll start feeling a lit bit better.”

That first marathon, in Tallahassee, didn’t go very well. However, Allen persevered and continued to work and this year he has completed four more and continued to improve as a runner.

“It was very tough,” Allen said of his first marathon. “I started out kind of fast and kind of blew up. I had a bad race, but it was also a good learning experience… I just took off running real fast and I blew up about mile five or six and I was like, ‘Wow, I’ve still got 20 more miles to go.’”

He learned to control his pace and has improved his training to include interval and hill work and tempo miles. His improvement has been as much mental as it has been physical though.

“Now I know about pacing,” Allen said. “Now I know about times and how to adjust myself along the way and no matter what goes on to keep pushing myself.”

And the change has been drastic. Earlier this year he ran a personal best of 3 hours and 20 minutes in the Jacksonville marathon, a full hour and 15 minutes faster than his time in his first marathon last year.

“I had a goal set out this year to run a little bit more and see what I could do and see how far I can take myself,” Allen said. “It’s been tough.”

This year he has also ran in the Snickers Marathon in Albany, the Tallahassee Marathon for the second year in a row and most recently the Solider Marathon on the weekend of Veterans day.

The Snickers Marathon was his favorite one yet, he said, because it is the only one that he has gotten to run in Georgia, but the Solider Marathon was special for a reason very much it’s own.

“It was pretty cool, unique and awesome to be around that many people that serve and fight for our country,” Allen said.

He also had the opportunity to dedicate his race to a fallen solider, Army Pfc. Theron V. Hobbs of Albany, Georgia who died on Nov. 6, 2008, in Iraq.

“It meant lot for me,” Allen said. “I was at the table and they had everything laid out and the lady was like ‘hey, you want to run for a fallen solider?’ I looked and I saw Albany, Georgia and that’s my area, so I said I would go and do it for him.”

Allen is not done proving people wrong and beating the odds though.

He has his sights on a bigger challenge on Dec. 10 will compete in a 50 mile race in Wakulla Springs.

“It’s going to take a lot of training and it’s going to take that commitment of saying I can do it,” Allen said. “I’m going to try to pace myself real well and not get too caught up on time. It’s my first time doing basically two marathons in one event.”

He has put in the hours of training to get ready and knows exactly what it will take to reach the finish line.

“It’s going to be tough for me, but I’m going to keep going,” Allen said. “I’m always keeping in my head, as long as I keep moving forward I’m moving in the right direction.”

About Brandon O'Connor


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