Allie McLaughlin, a 23 yr old resident of Colorado Springs, earned herself a US Mountain Running National Championship with a win at the Loon Mountain Race on Sunday. Allie will also represent the US as part of the national mountain running team. McLaughlin ran the 4.5ish mile course in 47:12, good for a 9:51 clip on the challenging terrain. Morgan Arritola was more than a minute back in second place (48:15).
It may come as a bit of a surprise to some that it was McLaughlin breaking the tape considering how stacked this field was. Besides Arritola, the race featured former world champion Kasie Enman, recent Mt Washington winner Shannon Payne and former Olympian/US mountain running team member Magda Lewy-Boulet. Stacked. But it was McLaughlin who came out on top, and here we have an interview with the new champion:
Was this your first US Mt Championships race?
Yes it was!
How long have you been running the mountains for?
Well I mean living in Colorado a lot of my trails are a little hilly, but I first did the incline at the base of Pikes Peak with my best friends freshman year in high school. Needless to say, I kind of fell in love!
Did training at elevation out west make this lower evelation seem easy, or did this race have its own special challenges?
I’m not really sure how much the elevation played a factor. I’ve never really felt any kind of race being easier at lower elevation, my time is just faster sometimes. So maybe I did get up quicker being at a lower elevation than if I was running it at home!
What was your game plan going in?
It’s been a long time since I’ve raced consistently (fall of ’09) and so I’ve kind of had a chance to start over and not overthink it too much. That said, my plan was just to pretend I was going out for a run up Keystone at home! Obviously as the race went on I probably made adjustments or reacted to situations differently than if it was just a training run but I like how it went!
What position were you in when hit the Upper Walking Boss (the last, long climb)?
I was in the lead heading up the last climb and I wasn’t 100 percent sure how to handle it cause everyone in the race is obviously a strong climber and I didn’t want to get passed!
What did you think of Upper Walking Boss?
It was pretty legit, but I made it up without getting passed so that made it seem easier when it was over! It was pretty long, but the 500m to go sign was super encouraging. I just treated it like it was the last incline and definitely took the first half slower.
How did you celebrate making the team?
I didn’t do a ton since I had to head straight to the airport after the race, but it was fun to see all the pics pop up on social media in the car! My parents were in town Monday which was special and I’m planning to get out on my wakeboard soon now that the water is warming up here!
Who are you sponsored by and what team do you compete/train with?
I do not have a sponsor and I do not train with a team. As of right now I have found I do best staying healthy on my own. I do though often run with Zach Miller (4th at Loon) and that’s been really great. He is super enthusiastic about racing and has helped push me back into the scene and for that I am grateful!!
Where can we expect to see you racing next?
Italy.. wearing the Red, White, and Blue!!
Congrats to Allie and good luck to her in Italy. Now will someone step up and sponsor this stud runner?