Making up for lost time, Allen Woodard sees WR improvement

Allen has the M45 world 400 record to himself.

Allen has the M45 world 400 record to himself.

Like many in our sport, Allen Woodward regrets never tapping his youthful potential. At Ranger College about 1990, he ran a 200 in 20.5 and 400 in 45.8 before being injured. He left the sport, he tells me. “That was at age 20-21. Needless to say, I left a lot on the table. That’s what brings me back to the sport. Trying to fill the void.” He’s done so big time over the past year, lowering or equaling the M45 WR in the 400 three times. And he’s far from done. In a quickie Q&A, Allen graciously shares details of his 49.12 at age 47 over the weekend. What were your 200 splits in latest WR? What lane were you in, and what were the weather conditions?

Allen Woodard: My 200 splits was around 22.6 hand time and mid to low 26’s for the second 200. There was a strong tailwind on the backside. The video was taken from the back side. So the first 200 was easy to time.

You’re closer to your 2015 goal of sub-49. When might you achieve that time?

I’m looking to go sub 49 in my next race which could be this coming weekend at Rice or Texas University.

What do you do for a living in Houston?

I buy and sell cars for a living. This gives me a little flexibility to train. Not as much as I like though.

Have a coach or training partner? What is your support system?

Last off season I train in a pro camp in Houston and then on my own during the regular season. This year I continued to train on my own and coach. Which, I do train with my athletes most of the time. My main support system is my wife Christina. Christina is a professional sax player and music teacher.

How do you train? Weights? Hills? Repeats? Overdistance?

Yes, I do a little of everything you mention. Hills not so much anymore. There’s just not a lot of hills in Houston. Pretty flat here. Last year I broke the record weighing about 192. That was a little heavy. Been focusing a lot on my diet this year.

What’s your height and weight? How does this compare with your age 20 days?

My weight now is 180-182. I feel a lot better at this weight. I’m about 5-10 pound heavier than when I was 20. My race weight was about 170-175. I thought I was 6-1 in college. Now I’m only a little over 6 feet even. I guess it’s true what they say about gravity.

What are your all-time PRs? Where did you compete as a kid?

My PR in college was 45.8 and 20.5 before I was forced to leave the sport with an injury. That was at age 20-21. Needless to say, I left a lot on the table. That’s what brings me back to the sport. Trying to fill the void. I went to Brenham High School, then to Ranger College. From there I could have went anywhere I chose.

What major masters meets are you targeting this year? Grand Rapids nationals? Perth worlds?

I’m heading to Penn Relays and Grand Rapids for sure. Probably will not make it to Perth.

When do you get time to train?

Most of my training is in the afternoon anywhere from 4 to 5:30 with my athletes.

Tell me about your family — wife, kids, cats, dogs? What challenges have you overcome?

Well, I mentioned my lovely wife Christina early. I have four kids and an adopted son, not legally adopted. But it’s all the same to me.

The biggest challenge to day to day is balancing work and training. But I have learned to manage. My biggest challenge in this sport after being absent for over 20 years was training and building my body to compete again.

Why do you sprint?

I sprint because I love the sport. Always have. It was heartbreaking to me when I could no longer compete. If I wouldn’t have been hurt in my younger days, there is no doubt in mind I would have found my way to competing at the top level. Yet I thank God for my life and I wouldn’t want to be anything else but what God made me to be. So I’ll take what’s left and make the best of it. My plans are to learn as much as I can and coach high-profile athletes. Also, to see how far I can take mother nature and be an inspiration to others.

What can USATF and WMA do better to support your masters career and aspirations?

Well, of course competing is expensive. So I wish there were more opportunities for sponsorship of some type. Just something to help take a little of the sting out of the cost of competing, traveling and gear.

If I could get a little help, I could run even faster. I think a lot of us masters could run faster if we could concentrate on training more. I would really like to see our sport grow and produce fast times. Maybe even have our own little Diamond League one day.

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April 11, 2016

9 Responses

  1. Matt B. - April 12, 2016

    Enjoyed the interview. Best of luck to Allen.
    There was only one question missing: Will you be the first sub 50 400m runner at age 50?

    Diamond league events are including masters more frequently now and we do have the masters exhibition events at some of the pro meets and trials here at home.

  2. A Master's Runner - April 14, 2016

    Good for you Allen! Hard work, dedication, just trying to do the best you can.

    It would be an honor to lose to you, if I cared to go to any national meets.

  3. Peter L. Taylor - April 14, 2016

    Allen looks like a college sprinter, and he runs like one as well. Having been in the masters program for decades, I am always glad to see people like Allen run in our meets, as I am happy to see other polished sprinters with collegiate backgrounds like Bill Collins, Lee Bridges, Bob Lida, Renee Shepherd, Rachel Guest, Joy Upshaw, Liz Palmer, and so on.

    Also glad to see that Allen will be competing in Grand Rapids. So far we have just one entrant (4:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time on April 14), but entries did not open very long ago. I do hope that Grand Rapids will become the first nationals not in Oregon or California to exceed 1400 entrants.

  4. Nate Sickerson - April 15, 2016

    Great job Allen! Good story, very humble guy, I am happy for his success. Go get 48!

  5. Matt B. - April 20, 2016

    Saw the 22.49 200 result at Rice on the 16th.

  6. Ryan Karrer - April 21, 2016

    350s are the way to do if your running them at 42 or under you’ll get that 48 good luck and warm up good

  7. Ken Stone - April 27, 2016

    Alan ran a 49.17 over the weekend:

    Says he didn’t get a full warmup and ran out of Lane 9. Much left in the tank.

  8. Ken Stone - April 30, 2016

    Check out Allen’s 400 split at Penn!

    US Masters 3:25.87 Karnell Vickers (52.71), Lee Bridges (51.21), Andrew Junas (53.55), Allen R Woodard (48.41)

  9. Peter L. Taylor - April 30, 2016

    Ken, it was an absolutely sensational and courageous split, as Allen was trying to help his team break the M45 world mark of 3:24.84. The announcer, Bill Lott, indicated to me that he was extremely impressed. A split of 48.41 at age 47 — think about it.

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