Faith Allen had a unique advantage during the COVID-19 pandemic quarantine that sidelined high school sports for almost four months. Her mom also happened to be her coach.
But that didn’t matter — because she knew where she wanted to go and exactly how to get there.
“I didn’t have to tell her to run during the summer,” Mounties coach Shelley Allen said. “She would come and ask me what the workout was and she would go out and do it. I wasn’t out there coaching her telling her to push harder, it was all her.”
Allen had a successful freshman campaign in 2019, but there was still something missing.
She changed that in 2020, thanks to hundreds of offseason miles.
“I knew I had to run a lot to be up there with some of the better girls in the area,” she said. “I knew I had to run every day so I did and gave it all, because otherwise I wasn’t going to be where I needed to be.”
Allen won several races this season, including invitational wins at Benton Central and Greencastle. And most importantly a county title on her home course. Allen is the 2020 Journal Review Girls Cross Country Runner of the Year.
And all of those summer miles? Many were lonely. Making those wins this fall feel that much more rewarding.
“Just running miles for no purpose sucks,” Allen said. “But when you are winning and doing well in the races, you have that confidence boost. It’s a lot easier to push past the hard miles.”
Allen earned first-team Sagamore Conference honors with a second-place finish in 19:31. Another runner-up finish came at the IHSAA Brownsburg Sectional in 19:03. She was sixth at the Ben Davis Regional in 19:13.
Coach Allen never saw her daughter’s goals change or her desire to achieve them diminish.
“It was tough because she did have a lot of tough, lonely miles,” Shelley Allen said. “But she persevered and pushed through it because she knew where she had her sights set for the year. When she sets her mind to something then she just goes after it.”
And there’s still plenty to chase after.
The Southmont school record. A state finals qualification. And cementing her place in cross country glory.
Allen placed 36th at the semi-state this fall, and is just seconds away from the school record at 19 minutes flat.
“I really just wish I would have gotten to state, but it just gives me more motivation to work harder next year,” Allen said. “I want to keep working, keep getting my goals and keep improving.”
There are plenty of races still to win and many more goals to achieve for Faith Allen.