Despite broiling temperatures, Hillsboro’s Joel Allen managed a sixth-place finish in the Shriner’s Bowl All-Star Cross-Country race Saturday in Hays.
But for Allen, the relationships built with fellow racers might be an even bigger achievement.
“It was pretty cool to come in and meet some new runners,” he said. “Most of them I’d heard of already, but had never had the opportunity to meet them.”
Both the girls’ and boys’ West teams defeated the East teams and received plaques and recognition during halftime of the Shriner’s Bowl football game. Allen also received a sixth-place medal.
Allen’s family cheered him on from the stands.
“It was 106,” said his mother, Carol Allen. “It was brutal. But he had an awesome time.”
Joel Allen said the weather conditions did negatively affect the course, but it was still a good course overall. He also said the Shriner’s Bowl staff did a great job of taking care of the runners in the heat.
“They were constantly providing us with water and fruit,” he said.
Allen said a highlight was getting to hear a former Kansas State track coach give the athletes tips on college life and athletics.
“He had some really great advice about staying patient with your running, not having to be the best on the team right away, and that really applied to a lot of us,” he said.?“We are not going to be the best, the most experienced, the most talented. There are just going to be lot of changes.”
Allen, who plans to run for Tabor College this fall, did say he was the top finisher among all the KCAC recruits.
“That’s a lot of what this weekend was for me, trying to catapult myself out of high school and into college,” he said. “I thought I came out of there pretty well.”
Allen said he enjoyed being able to be a part of what the Shriners were doing.
“It was definitely for a higher purpose than just the event itself, raising money for these hospitals,” he said. “That was pretty awesome.”
After he finished the race, Allen had the opportunity to run the last 20 meters alongside a child from a Shriner’s hospital with a prosthetic leg.
“It was cool to support something like that,” he said.
Allen said the relational aspect of the event was important to him.
“I almost value the relational part of it more than the race,” he said.