Bainbridge runner finishes 50 mile race, sets sights on next challenge
Published 5:07 pm Tuesday, December 20, 2016
By Brandon O’Connor
Harold Allen had already conquered the marathon so Saturday, Dec. 10, he decided to take on an even bigger challenge. He traveled down to Wakulla Spring and competed in a 50-mile ultra-marathon. The race consisted of eight loops of a 6.25-mile course and would be his toughest test to date.
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“It was a tough challenge,” Allen said. “Getting up that morning and having to drive from Bainbridge to Wakulla Springs, but I knew I was going to do it because I had made up my mind that I was going to do it.”
The distance was more than twice that of his longest previous race and forced him to adjust how he ran.
“You can’t compare the two because the distance is so much different,” Allen said. “You have to change your pace. You have to change your game plan.”
His lowest point came around the 38-mile mark, but Allen refused to give up or even entertain the thought of quitting.
“If I had a moment [where I didn’t think I would make it] I would have just stopped and I would have quit,” he said. “There were moments where I was like this is tough, but I never imagined that I couldn’t do it.”
His perseverance paid off and he finished the race in 8 hours and 50 minutes.
“I had never taken my body that far in one event,” Allen said. “There were a lot of people out there that didn’t make it.”
With the challenge of completing the 50-mile race behind him, Allen is now switching his focus back to marathons and a 100-mile race that he plans to compete in in March.
“I have marathon number six, the Tallahassee Marathon, coming up Feb. 4,” Allen said. “I have the Snickers Marathon coming up March 4 and I’m going to a 100 miler March 28 in Fort Clinch, Florida.”
His overall goal for 2017 is to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2018 and he plans to try for a qualifying time at the Snickers Marathon in Albany. Qualifying requires a sub 3 hour and 10 minute marathon in his age group, but his goal is to run the Snickers marathon in under three hours, which requires a 6:40 mile pace. His current best time was the 3 hour and 20 minute marathon that he ran in Jacksonville.