Recently at Grandma's Marathon, I was talking to my old high school Coach Kerry Louks about how he spoiled my Minnesota Mile to teach me a valuable lesson.

I always interview Kerry Louks because he was Athletic Director and Cross-Country Coach at Duluth Central High School. He was my coach. He said a few things to me that I followed. One of them was, to keep your head down when running down a hill and you will have better form, let the hill take you down and save energy, and many more helpful tips.

One thing he said to me, I learned while I was running the Minnesota Mile. It was held on Park Point and the finish line was by the Aerial Lift Bridge, or at least that's the way I remember it, so we will go with that. (It really was on Park Point.)

Chris Allen
Chris Allen

I was a junior becoming a senior in high school, I had run a bunch in the Winter, Spring, and Summer months, and lost a lot of weight. The Minnesota Mile was a lead-up to my Fall season of running and I was hoping to move up in the ranks for the team. I was in great running shape and had run a lot of 5k races that Summer.

I got in the chute for the race and positioned myself near the front. I saw my coach and some other people I knew in the front. The gun went off and I ran to the front to see how long I could stay with that group. I ran a little faster and was in the lead group. I ran a little faster and found myself in the lead, nervous it would end any second, so I kept looking behind me and no one was making a move.

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I got confident, I had been leading for 3/4 of the mile and knew I had a solid kick (meaning I could finish fast) for the last 1/8 of a mile. That's when it happened, my coach and some of the other runners passed me. I tried to kick it as fast as I could but didn't have my usual speed and placed 5thchris

Actual picture of me in the swain race that day in 5th place on the team-taken by my brother Erik
Erik Shelerud (Chris Allen Swain Invitational)

Coach Louks came over and shook my hand, told me what a good race I had, and gave me a great bit of advice. He said, don't keep looking back, you use too much energy looking back. Run your race and run it the best that you can. That was great advice. That season I was a scoring varsity member for Swain Invitational (my goal was just to run varsity for that race) and made it to the Varsity Team for the regionals.

I also won an award for the most improved runner voted on by the team. I think it was all the advice Coach Kerry Louks gave me, but when I stopped worrying about all the runners behind me, I ran a more competitive race. Thanks for the advice coach, and I'll see you next year at the Grandma's Marathon finish line.

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