Hillsboro High School alum Joel Allen plans to participate in the 2-mile run, an event that culminates on the football field as part of the pregame festivities for the high school all-star football game.
The event, which will be televised statewide, benefits the Shriners Children’s Hospital.
“I don’t know exactly what to expect,” Allen said of the race. “I’m hoping to finish at least top 10. I think I’m capable of doing that, and that’s something I’d really like to do.”
Allen said it could be a challenge because the race course is far shorter than his preferred 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) distance. He will also be facing some of the best athletes in the state, 30 in all. Fifteen are competing for the East team and 15 for the West.
“There’ll be some really good competition there, several people that I know and I’ve raced against, as well as people who I don’t know,” Allen said. “I really have been looking forward to running in a race of this caliber.”
Since the race is by invitation only, Allen said he is grateful to HHS cross-country coach Stuart Holmes for nominating him.
Allen said he signed a binding contract saying he would prepare for the race, but his summer running schedule from Tabor College cross-country coach Daniel Swaney has been more than adequate preparation.
“I’ve been running pretty heavy mileage as of late,” Allen said. “Before we go up there to Hays on Friday, I will have had 300 miles on the summer.”
This weekend’s race will not be Allen’s first this summer. He has run two others, an 8-K race in Wichita three weeks after state competition and a 5-K race in Newton two weeks ago.
“I’m just looking forward to going out there and, in a low-pressure, highly publicized event, go out there and show people—and show myself—that I’m ready for the cross country season,” he said.
“I can’t wait to be there.”
Allen was the Class 3A runner-up at the state cross-country meet last October and won the 3,200-meter race at the state track and field meet in spring.