November 30, 2011

Margaret Allen - December Runner of the Month

Written by Dena Evans
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M_Allen_croppedMargaret Allen

Runner of the Month - December 2011


Originally born and raised in England, Margaret is a 62 year-old mom who started running at age 59.  She had been pretty healthy, but her sons, one of whom ran in college, encouraged her to start running.  Margaret has been a family practice Physician’s Assistant for 20 years, with a very busy practice working primarily with the homeless and the uninsured.  After meeting and marrying an American, the Allen family settled in Northern California, where she still resides.


Recently, Margaret enjoyed a breakthrough race at the BUPA Great South Run 10 Miler in Portsmouth, England.

FNF: How did you start running?

MA:  My mom suffered some debilitating arthritis and back problems.  As I was about to turn 60, I thought, “Wow, I should be doing some exercise.”  I don’t like ball games, because I can’t see well enough.  I don’t like team games, because I don’t much like winning and losing, and I don’t like swimming, because I grew up swimming in the sea, which I loved [and cannot do often]. My son got me going, and has really continued to encourage me.

FNF: Who is your running role model?

MA:   Well, Paula Radcliffe is actually a friend and stayed with us after having some surgery in the area.  I sometimes run at Rancho San Antonio [park In Mountain View, California]. But as for a real role model…I learned a lot from both of my kids, but Tom especially. I watched my kids grow up and be really athletic. Tom and his [running] friends would stay here and it was very inspiring.


FNF: What has been your most memorable running / racing experience?

MA:  Competing in the Great South Run was something I had always wanted to do, and I signed up for it a year ahead.  I figured I‘m not getting any younger, so if I’m going to do it, I better do it now!  It was the most exhilarating and fun experience I have ever had.  I had done a 10K a few weeks earlier and literally came in last.  I had felt so bad, so I was a bit scared of the Great South Run.

FNF: What have you enjoyed about working with Focus-N-Fly?

MA:  Kate has been terrific; she is great about answering my questions.  I like the training log, although sometime I cheat and put it in on the next day.  It does push me, and I can see the mileage I am supposed to accomplish, which is very helpful.  I credit FNF with helping me improve my speed and stamina.  It never occurred to me to switch it up, I would run the same old run every day.


FNF: What is one part of your racing routine you can’t do without (sleep, pre race meal, tie shoes certain way, other ritual)?

MA: I do like to register before. I don’t like race day registration; I do like to figure out what I am going to wear.  The biggest challenge is figuring out what I am going to wear while waiting for the race to start.  I have a little cache of used sweatshirts… I really don’t approve of the plastic bag thing!

FNF: What is your favorite place to go for a run?

MA: I do like going up to Rancho San Antonio.  I do like running around Stanford campus.  It is really beautiful, parts of it, I run around Lake Lag.

FNF: In the next year, what goals do you hope to accomplish?

MA:  if I can keep up this level of fitness, I’ll be very happy.  I’d like to aim for a half marathon in the next year or two.


Last modified on December 01, 2011
Dena Evans

Dena Evans

Dena Evans joined runcoach in July, 2008 and has a wide range of experience working with athletes of all stripes- from youth to veteran division competitors, novice to international caliber athletes.

From 1999-2005, she served on the Stanford Track & Field/ Cross Country staff. Dena earned NCAA Women’s Cross Country Coach of the Year honors in 2003 as Stanford won the NCAA Division I Championship. She was named Pac-10 Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003-04, and West Regional Coach of the Year in 2004.

From 2006-08, she worked with the Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative, helping to expand the after school fitness programs for elementary school aged girls to Mountain View, East Menlo Park, and Redwood City. She has also served both the Stanford Center on Ethics and the Stanford Center on the Legal Profession as a program coordinator.

Dena graduated from Stanford in 1996.

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