The final race in the 2016 Salmon Run Series featured the founder of the series, now internationally acclaimed running phenomenon Allie Ostrander. The holder of many Alaska State running records and multiple state championships, the 2015 KCHS graduate just finished her freshman year at Boise State and was proclaimed by News Week Magazine in a March headline “Straight A’s and NCAA’s: Allie Ostrander is America’s next Running Phenom.” When she ran the fastest indoor 5K of the year that qualified her for the Olympic Trials where she made an impressive 8th place finish after recovering from a stress fracture injury this spring. Ostrander was the only college runner in a field otherwise filled with professionals and the only teenager amid a collection of 20- and 30-somethings, and yet she more than held her own in the women’s 5,000-meter final at the U.S. Olympic Trials.
Ostrander’s Salmon Run Series was a result of her love of running as a high school freshman when she received the Caring for the Kenai assignment from her science teacher Kristin Davis, who also entered and completed the Salmon Run Series. Alli’s idea was to share her love of running with the community through a series of races rather than just a single event and dedicate the proceeds to the Kenai Watershed Forum for projects such as invasive plant eradication. She continued to organize and plan the series every year during her outstanding high school career and at Wednesday’s culmination of this year’s races drew the highest number of participants to date.
She took the opportunity during her brief visit home to run the race with her sister Taylor and encourage other runners to do their best, “It’s been really nice being back for a while and being able to be part of the Salmon Run Series once again. I love the addition of kid’s race that we added a couple of year ago. It’s so fun to see little kids out there running and being so happy when they cross the finish line. It’s the same with the adults seeing them embrace each other after the finish and be happy that they were each able to compete, finish and achieve their goals,” she told the Dispatch. With a final tally not yet available it’s estimated that Ostrander’s Salmon Run Series has raised over $50,000 for environmental projects in the Kenai Watershed.
Alli is headed back to Boise State to commence her training for the cross country season. Asked about her hopes for the future and the next Olympics she said, “The next Olympics are four years away and anything can happen in that time. So I’ll just stay focused on my next race and on improving myself. I’m not feeling the injury these days so I’ll be putting that behind me, but we have had to adjust my training now to adapt it to what we think my body can handle. The Olympics is pretty much any athlete’s dream, but I’m definitely not setting that as a goal right now, I’m more focused on the events inside the NCAA. It’s really awesome to be competing with and training with such incredible athletes. Not that I didn’t in high school, we had an awesome training group, but it’s so cool to build on each other’s momentum. It’s sort of like you are caught up in a tide and you’re all moving together like a wave toward goals and self-improvement,” she said.