Columbus sophomore cross country runner Heaven Allen was part of a young Lady Blue Devils’ team in 2017. Despite her relative inexperience, Allen wasted little time in becoming the city’s top female runner.
Allen’s efforts were unparalleled in Muscogee County this fall, as she won the Region 1-4A meet with a time of 19:50.33 and the City Championship meet at 21:04.50. Allen finished the year off strong, taking 40th at the Class 4A state meet by clocking in at 21:59.94.
Thanks to her efforts throughout the season, Allen has been chosen as the 2017 All-Bi-City Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
“It was really fun. I wasn’t expecting to do as good as I did,” Allen said. “It was all about staying mentally motivated and really, really trying my best no matter how much I didn’t like the workout or how much I didn’t feel like doing it. I just really had to keep pushing through.”
Allen’s consistency was a huge contributor in her standout season. She said many mornings began with a run outside or a trip to the gym. Times when the team did not practice meant little to her, as she would still go out and run on her own accord.
“Even if I didn’t want to, I pushed myself to run,” Allen said.
The dedication paid off in a number of races, including the region meet when she set a new personal record. That willingness to give her all motivated her at the state meet in Carrollton, when a sluggish start had the chance to ruin the day.
“It was really early in the morning so I wasn’t at my best,” Allen said. “Probably about halfway through, I had to mentally pick myself up and say, ‘This is your last race. You have to give it your all.’ I just started running as fast as I could for as long as I could until I crossed the finish line.”
Going forward, consistency is the key word for Allen. She said she wants to start the 2018 season with a faster time than she did in 2017, something that she knows will take a great deal of work. From that point, she was to follow up those performances with comparable times as she hopes to make major strides.
“Really, I just want to continue to do my best and try my hardest,” Allen said.
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports