Corner Brook’s Jon Allan of the MUN Sea-Hawks, front, pulls away from an unidentified runner from University of New Brunswick at the St. Francis Xavier University Invitational cross-country running meet held recently in Antigonish, N. S. — Submitted photo
ST. JOHN’S — Jon Allan may be a late bloomer, but he’s poised to see how fleet of foot he can be now that he’s fully committed to running.
Allan, who is doing a work-term in St. John’s as part of his studies toward a civil engineering degree which he will obtain in the spring of 2014, is a rookie with the Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks varsity cross-country running team under the tutelage of coach Art Meaney.
The 22-year-old Corner Brook native dabbled in cross-country running in junior high, but had little to do with running during his high school days before graduating from Corner Brook High in 2009. His interest in running peaked somewhat when he started participating in triathlons a few years back, but his desire to run increased once he moved to the capital city to pursue his civil engineering degree.
He participated in a couple of Tely 10 races when he went to St. John’s to keep himself in decent shape and keep him sane while he was studying at MUN. Fellow runners on the Tely 10 circuit appeared to motivate Allan to take the sport further after he managed to run 10 miles in an hour.
“Everyone around me kept telling me that if I actually trained I could do something with it so I finally decided this was going to be the time,” he said.
Allan, son of Bill and Peggy Allan of Corner Brook, grew up as a competitive swimmer so he knows the importance of a strong work ethic and being fit, so adjusting to a schedule that includes a heavy workload on the academic side and running every day of the week hasn’t been too bad for him in the early going.
“I grew up swimming so I was always in good aerobic shape so when I started to take running seriously this fall I was already sort of in shape and could compete at a high level,” he said.
So, his competitive running career is only a few months old, but he’s really enjoying being part of the Sea-Hawks with a new bunch of teammates he’s already calling his friends. He made his debut with the Sea-Hawks last week at the St. Francis Xavier Invitational where he placed 25th overall with a final clocking of 29 minutes in an eight-kilometre race against the elite in the Atlantic University Sport.
He’s looking at his debut as a good start to his season.
“Our team captain Mark Hayward, who was close to being an all-star last season, I was two places behind him so I was pretty happy to just be competitive with the guys on my own team let alone within the AUS,” he said. “I was very pleased. It’s hard to expect any more with the little amount of training I’ve been doing. So, by the time the AUS championships come up I’ll be a bit more competitive.”
Meeting some new friends and getting to travel to tournaments are all positives for Allan and he’s certainly enjoying being able to keep in good shape while doing something he’s really enjoying.
“It’s been a good experience so far. I’m loving it,” he said. “Keeping in shape is fun. We’re running every day, but my legs aren’t sore for the first time.”