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USATF Masters Athlete Spotlight: Charles Allie

7/29/2018
 

USATF is highlighting Masters competitors (athletes ages 30-100+) as they compete at the 2018 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships in Spokane, Washington.  


Today’s Q&A focuses on 70-year-old Charles Allie of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Allie holds multiple world and American records and competes in the 100m, 200m and 400m. Since entering the M70 age group this year, the septuagenarian has set five records across indoor and outdoor. He is also a member of the USATF Masters Hall of Fame and 2013 WMA Athlete of the Year.


How did you get your start in USATF Masters track and field?

“After college, I didn’t know too much about Masters track and field because a lot of the guys who ran track, they went to track clubs and came out to the Olympics. It was all track clubs. I didn’t know too much about it because the internet wasn’t around then, you know. I took some time off, then when I started back at 38, I just happened to find out about Masters track.


So once I got involved at 40… I haven’t stopped. I’ve been involved for 30 years.”


Your nickname is “One Speed” because you don’t pace yourself during races. Is that a racing tactic you’ll continue using in the future?

“Well, when you run rounds, if you’ve got the pace, you’ve got the lead, you’re supposed to ease up. And I don’t. They say, ‘This is not the finals, you know, ease up. Don’t just run one speed,’ but that’s just my tactic, I just run that way.


So I’m learning, I guess I just don’t have that down pat because I get out and I just go. One speed all the time, whether it’s the finals or the semis, I just run one speed. So I’m learning, especially in the 400, but I’m learning.”


You taught in Pittsburgh for 35 years. Did your teaching career impact your athletic endeavors?

“I was a middle school teacher and I also coached the girls’ sports. I was a shop teacher [originally] but, our phys ed teacher didn’t wanna coach the girls’ sports so I did basketball, soccer and softball, so that got me involved. After their workout, I’d go and workout myself. So that helped me a great deal.”


You also compete on the race track. How did you get involved in car racing?

“I’ve had a Corvette since I came out of college, you know, but I have two Corvettes. I drag race - a quarter mile drag race - so I’m in with my Corvettes drag racing. It’s a safe sport, I don’t do it on the streets. I did that when I was in college but I’m past that part, we go to the track. It’s like a hobby.”


What does your favorite day of training look like?

“My favorite day of training is generally when my workout is over with… You’ve gotta work yourself up. And once you get done, you do your workout, you feel so good. It’s always after the practice is over with.”


What are your favorite foods to eat on days of competition?

“I can tell you after competition, I eat anything! A nice big juicy steak. But before competition, I just try to do a good breakfast, like oatmeal, you know, eggs, something like that, a good breakfast.


During race day I just hydrate myself, I really don’t eat too much, you know, just snack on something until the race is over. Because most of the time the race is on your mind and you’re nervous, and you don’t really think about eating. But when you’re done racing, you’re ready to pig out. So I just kind of eat to get me through the day for my event.”


What do you hope to accomplish within the next few years?

“I’m 70 now so, I’m new in the age group and I have five world records already. I have three indoors and two outdoors this year. I’m just trying to maintain, because I’m going to the World meet in Spain and I hope to do well there.


Most of my competition is here right in the States, so I’m looking forward to that. There’s no pressure on me right now about world records, you know, if it happens next round I’ll be beating my own records. I’m just looking to go and do well, perform well.”


What advice would you give younger athletes starting their athletic journeys?

“I coach the sprinters and I’ll see some things that they need to do. Like use blocks, if you’re gonna run the 100m or 200m, don’t just get down, learn how to use the blocks. They’ll say ‘I don’t know how,’ so I try to pass on my expertise, you know, and I also run with them. So they’re really helping me just as much as I’m helping them.


I’ll get some high school kids, they have good times, so I kind of compete with them. I try to pass on my expertise, and they really appreciate it, too, they go ‘Wow, you run at that age.’ I enjoy that part. That’s my giving back, after being able to do all this I go back to the kids and work with them.”


What does it mean to you to compete in USATF Masters competitions?

“It means a lot. After running all these years, all the comradery, you know, I’m going with a team out of Texas [Houston Elite] and we’re scattered throughout all the United States. [People] will say, ‘Are you from Texas?’ and I say ‘No, I’m from Pennsylvania. I run with Texas.’


We don’t practice together, we all have our own particular states that we train in. We meet at a meet and we run on the same team. And just the fact that we’re like a family, you know. Even guys you compete against, you get to have a nice bond. Mainly the sprinters, the sprinters stick together.


Just being here and getting to know everybody, when you have your name on your bib, you get to talk and we’ve all got stories to tell. That’s what I really like about track, even if I don’t compete. Win, lose, or draw, we’ve all got that competitive spirit that we want to compete. It’s great.”


Fans can follow Allie at the 2018 USATF Masters Outdoor Championships via USATF.TV+. Learn more about becoming a Masters athlete at www.usatfmasters.org.  


Alexia Beecher

USATF Marketing Intern




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