When it comes to cross country in the fall or track and field in the spring, a lot of people seem to be chasing Stargate School’s Allison Pippert to the finish line.
She has won four races this season; the Bernie Gay Centaurus Invitational in September, the St. Vrain Cross Country Invitational and the Runners Roost Invitational and the Mead Stampede.
Pippert also took second at the Horizon Invitational in late August and took seventh at the Wyoming Cross Country Invitational.
Her first foray into the sport was a 5K race in fifth grade.
“And I told my mom I wanted to go fast and win,” Pippert said. “I didn't win, but I ended up third in my age group, and I decided I liked running. I wanted to see if I could get better if I actually trained, so I joined our school cross country team at the start of middle school.”
She tried other sports before settling on running
“I did gymnastics competitively for most of elementary school,” she said. “Going into middle school, I wanted to try something new so I joined cross country. When I first started running in middle school, I didn't really understand how practice contributed to my races. I would race my teammates to the barn (about a mile from school) every day. We played a lot of games at practice, and my coaches at the time were very high-energy.
“I pushed myself in races, but I was more focused on having fun at practice,” she added. “Trying to work hard for better results came later, but I still try and make running fun.”
It didn’t take long for her to feel at home in cross country.
“I think we had practices four days a week and were running maybe 10 miles a week,” she said. “And then my eighth-grade year, I decided I wanted to start training more. I saw a lot of improvement in my races, so I kept running even after the season ended, and I haven't stopped.”
Her typical week during the season consists of running 30 to 35 miles a week
“We usually try to get in one to two workout days, a long run (my favorite), a few easy runs, race day, and a rest day,” Pippert said. “There are certainly days when I'm not motivated. But overall, I love running, and it usually makes me feel more awake and gives me energy after school, so that makes it easy to get out the door.”
There are times when some stress gets in the way, such as an abundance of homework.
“But I know my time at practice will be a nice break from school and will make me more focused when I get home,” Pippert said. “I'm not sure why, but I love running in bad weather, particularly rain, so those days aren't hard.”
When the offseason begins, Pippert continues to run with her school or with REAL Training in Niwot.
My offseason training looks pretty similar to what I am doing in-season, just without all the racing,” Pippert said. “Occasionally I do miss things and, like most other athletes, I have to plan around practices. That being said, when there is a big event, I can run on my own at a different time of day to still get the workout in if I miss practice.”
Pippert has received some education from athletic participation, too.
“Participation in athletics has taught me a lot about pushing myself for my team,” she said. “During track, I love relays because you know you are pushing yourself for your team. During cross country, my coaches always tell us how every point counts in the team score.
“It has also taught me how if you work hard consistently over a long period of time, you will get better at whatever you are trying to do,” she added. “Even if it is not instantaneous results, it will be worth it in the long run.”
Pippert has her eyes set on a future marathon. She did a half-marathon two years ago and “and long runs are my favorite run of the week.” She has begun the process of looking into colleges and talking with college coaches.
“My coaches and teammates always support me and make me laugh, which makes it so much easier to show up and push myself when I'm not motivated,” Pippert said. “I would not know a lot of my teammates without running. They have become some of my closest friends.”
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