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CROSS COUNTRY RUNNING

Tales From The Trails: Allie Ostrander is back in a big way, finishes 4th at U.S. Cross Country Championships, qualifies for World Championships

by | Jan 20, 2024 | Cover Story, Cross Country Running, Running

Allie Ostrander

Not that Allie Ostrander disappeared – she has been publicly open and vulnerable about her eating disorder, and she’s raced between injuries the last few years – but her sensational performance Saturday at the USATF Cross Country Championships firmly placed her back on the running radar.

The former Kenai Central star who now lives in Seattle, deftly picked her way through the field at Pole Green Park in Richmond, Va., to finish fourth and qualify for the World Championships in Serbia in March.

Ostrander, 27, sat in 12th place through the first three kilometers of the 10-K (6.2-mile race), inched up to ninth place in the fourth and fifth kilometers and moved into a tie for sixth after six kilometers. She sat in fifth for the next three kilometers, then unleashed the fastest final kilometer (3:10.0) in the field to seize fourth in 33:52.5 and earn $1,000.

While Ostrander is known far more for her strength than pure speed, that final kilometer was her fastest of the day by nearly eight seconds. She had the strength to tap speed she has been sharpening in her track workouts in Seattle. Granted, winner Weini Kelati (32:58.6), who crushed the field a week after setting the American record at the Houston Half-Marathon, had no need to tap her full kick in the closing kilometer – she closed in 3:11.0, third-fastest in the field – but Ostrander’s final kilometer was an eye opener.

Ostrander delivered a significant negative split Saturday, covering the first half of the race in 17:06.4, then dropping a 16:46.1 for the second half.

The race was Ostrander’s first in four months. She last competed in the Mammoth Trailfest 26K in California in September, finishing ninth. Ostrander, sponsored by outdoor manufacturer Nnormal, has said on her YouTube channel that she intends to run in all types of races – track, mountain, cross country, road.

Kenai’s Allie Ostrander. Photo by Nick Danielson

Should Ostrander decide to accept her bid to the World Championships, it would mark the third different type of world championship for her. She won the 2015 junior women’s title at the World Mountain Running Championships in Wales and competed in the steeplechase at track and field’s 2019 World Championships in Qatar.

Ostrander was a three-time NCAA Division I steeplechase champion at Boise State and also racked a runner-up finish in the NCAA Cross Country Championships.

Ostrander first turned heads before she was even a teenager. At 12, she won her first of six consecutive junior girls championships on Mount Marathon in Seward. In her final year as a junior in the race halfway up and down the 3,022-foot mountain, she also beat all the boys. Her junior girls record still stands and she also owns a senior women’s title at Mount Marathon (2017).

Ostrander still owns the 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter state track records and won three state cross-country championships for Kenai Central.

She will be inducted into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame in April.

Story made possible by:

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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