In joining the pro ranks of distance running and the Brooks Running company, Soldotna’s Allie Ostrander is strengthening her ideals and running philosophies at the next level.
Ostrander said goodbye to a wildly successful four years at Boise State this summer by first announcing her decision to turn pro July 2, then following that up with her decision to join Brooks Running, a Seattle-based company that designs and markets performance wear for runners.
Henceforth, Ostrander will compete for the club team Brooks Beasts.
Wednesday evening, Ostrander was back in Alaska helping with her Caring for the Kenai brainchild, the Salmon Run Series, a five-week series of 5-kilometer races that is now in its eighth season.
Before leading the children’s event in a 1K loop, Ostrander spoke about her decision to turn pro.
In the end, she turned to the same adviser that sent her to Boise State to run college. Gut instinct.
“In the end, I feel like Brooks was the best fit with the best resources,” she said. “I have a lot of confidence in their coaching.”
Ostrander will be receiving coaching from Brooks Beast coach Danny Mackey, who Ostrander said holds a masters degree in exercise science and biomechanics.
Ostrander has impacted every team or program that she’s touched. In high school, she won three straight Alaska state titles in cross-country running, but also helped bring the varsity program up to the level where the Kardinals were competing for team titles.
The Kenai Central girls never won a team championship until Ostrander was gone, doing so with triumphs in 2015 and 2018.
At Boise State, Ostrander’s career climbed to an entirely new level, as she set new standards for Boise State athletes, breaking records at almost every opportunity.
Now, as a pro, the 13-time All-American and three-time Division I national champion said Brooks Running mirrors her own philosophy in the sport — the company motto is, “Run Happy.”
“They encourage people of all types, sizes, opinions and races to just get outside and run,” Ostrander said. “They really believe in the power of running to positively impact someone else’s life. That’s something I really believe in, and it’s part of the reason I started the Salmon Run Series.
“I’m very proud to represent a brand like that.”
The 2015 Kenai Central graduate has made her views clearer as her college career blossomed. Ostrander’s drive to change the ideals and views of women athletes caught national attention this spring after an Instagram post of hers went viral.
In the post, Ostrander brought up several comments that were made by the ESPN broadcast crew during the women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase finals that were televised in 2018 and 2019. The on-air remarks were made about her appearance, particularly her small stature and young looks.
Ostrander’s post criticized the commentary for drawing attention from what she believes really matters.
“People attend this event and listen to the commentary because they want to see what we are capable of, not what we look like we’re capable of,” she wrote in the post.
Inking a deal with Brooks Running only strengthened that belief.
“By bringing awareness to that, it educates reporters and commentators on things they should or shouldn’t say,” she said.
Ostrander said the process of turning professional didn’t happen overnight. She had begun to have thoughts of taking that next step in her career as early as last fall, she said, and by the time the outdoor track season rolled around this spring, it began to heat up.
Ostrander said she connected with Ray Flynn of Flynn Sports Management in search of an agent that could help negotiate a pro deal. For a successful athlete like Ostrander, the need to find a new challenge was calling.
“I was just feeling like I was ready to move on from college, and wanted a new challenge,” she said.
But first, Ostrander wished for one more appearance in the blue-and-orange colors of Boise State. Ostrander’s last appearance as a collegiate runner came June 30 at the Prefontaine Classic at California’s Stanford University, and she went out in style, running a new personal best time in the women’s steeplechase against some of the world’s top athletes in the event, many of them pros.
Now, contract and college degree in hand, Ostrander is ready to take on a new world.
“Professional running has always been a dream of mine, and was the goal coming out of college,” she said. “When I had that opportunity, it was really hard to pass it up.”
Ostrander’s next big race comes July 25 to 28 in Des Moines, Iowa, where she’ll be competing in the U.S.A. Track and Field Outdoor Championships in the steeplechase.
After that, Ostrander said she plans to make the move to Seattle, where Brooks Running is headquartered, before looking ahead to what her race schedule may bring her.
“I’ll look back on the last four years fondly, the ups and downs,” she said about her time in Boise. “You can’t expect it all to be smooth sailing … I appreciate the opportunity Boise State provided me, and I’ll maintain those relationships for the rest of my life.”
Back on the trails where it all started, Ostrander got get to catch up with old teammates and friends while maintaining the Salmon Run Series. Ostrander made a rare appearance running in her own series and crossed the line as the women’s winner, second overall behind race winner Bradley Walters, who won in 18 minutes, 11 seconds. Ostrander ran 18:37 to beat women’s runner-up Megan Youngren by 36 seconds.
Since hatching the idea in 2012, Ostrander said the series has not only been a good opportunity to acquaint people with the Tsalteshi Trails, but also has served as a perfect way to enhance the sport of running.
“The race series brings people together around a really healthy activity,” she reminded. “It’s social, and it makes running more fun. Running can get a bad rap for being hard or boring, but when we’re all out here together with a bunch of people you know and running the same trail, it definitely adds another element to it and you can gain energy from each other, and not dread it so much.”
To take a page from Ostrander’s new employer, “Run Happy.”
Salmon Run Series week 1
Wednesday at Tsalteshi Trails
1. Bradley Walters, 18:11; 2. Allie Ostrander, 18:37; 3. Megan Youngren, 19:13; 4. Adam Reimer, 19:19; 5. Samuel Roberts, 19:23; 6. Samuel Roberts, 19:23; 7. Anchor Musgrave, 19:25; 8. Will Steffe, 19:47; 9. Joe Hamilton, 20:54; 10. Ben McGarry, 21:24; 11. Jack Laker, 21:48; 12. Jaycie Calvert, 21:52; 13. Jordan Strausbaugh, 21:58; 14. Jake Streich, 22:05; 15. Joey Klecka, 22:27; 16. Dustin Henken, 22:33; 17. John-Paul Dammeyer, 22:39; 18. Lance Chilton, 23:01; 19. Erika Arthur, 23:02; 20. Tanis Lorrig, 23:03; 21. Avrey Willets, 23:03; 22. Chase Laker, 23:23; 23. Ian McGarry, 24:24; 24. Paul Ostrander, 24:33; 25. Megan Anderson, 24:36; 26. Jordan Chilson, 24:45; 27. David Callahan, 24:54; 28. Dominic Alioto, 25:16; 29. Larry Tews, 25:23; 30. Kellie Arthur, 25:42; 31. Joel Burns, 25:44; 32. Zach Burns, 25:44; 33. Quinn Brown, 25:47; 34. David Lorring, 25:52; 35. Zach Armstrong, 25:58; 36. Tony Mika, 26:00; 37. Annie Burns, 26:02; 38. Isabella Dammeyer, 26:04; 39. Ryan Marquis, 26:07; 40. Katie Delker, 26:20; 41. Owen Miller, 26:32; 42. Joseph Dammeyer, 26:45; 43. Maranda Merkes, 26:48; 44. James Dammeyer, 26:51; 45. Ellie Burns, 26:58; 46. Emerson Lorring, 26:59; 47. Gabbie Tews, 27:00; 48. Krista Arthur, 27:02; 49. Erica Cowart, 27:10; 50. Cody Tunks, 27:25; 51. Cooper Tallent-Darling, 27:43; 52. Olivia Kobylarz, 27:52; 53. Clinton Walsh, 28:09; 54. Alek McGarry, 28:40; 55. Dylan Callahan, 28:47; 56. Maya Callahan, 28:48; 57. Roy Stuckey, 28:55; 58. Karalyn Veihdeffer, 28:59; 59. Sara Bundy, 29:01; 60. Hannah Delker, 29:14; 61. Sondra Stonecipher, 30:14; 62. Leah Streich, 30:26; 63. Matt Brown, 30:29; 64. Jim Krein, 30:39; 65. Will Klein, 31:23; 66. Hugh Garzke, 31:25; 67. Kemp Discutner, 31:27; 68. Joel Moss, 31:50; 69. Donna Edmunds, 32:00; 70. Suzanne Callahan, 32:18; 71. Emma-Clare Dammeyer, 32:39; 72. Copper Fuller, 32:40; 73. Madison McDonald, 33:10; 74. Emily Moss, 33:12; 75. Madilyn Veihdeffer, 33:24; 76. Chelsea McGarry, 33:36; 77. Lanie Hughes, 33:40; 78. June Stuckey, 33:45; 79. Dana McDonald, 33:54; 80. Pete Mauro, 34:41; 81. Maverick Boyer, 34:52; 82. Sheilah-Margaret Pothast, 35:19; 83. John Pothast, 35:20; 84. Julie Cisco, 35:38; 85. Riley Cronin, 35:58; 86. Terri Cowart, 36:25; 87. Julie Laker, 36:34; 88. Kate Swaby, 36:35; 89. Sam Klein, 36:43; 90. Rebecca Rampton, 37:00; 91. Carrissa Heitstuman, 37:12; 92. Leif Laker, 37:25; 93. KatieMae Tallent, 37:33; 94. AmBryla Stephenson, 37:41; 95. Maria Sweppy, 37:45; 96. Tina Hensley, 38:24; 97. Frank Alioto, 39:05; 98. Stephanie Kobylarz, 39:34; 99. Teri Ostrander, 40:46; 100. Courtney Matiaco, 41:04; 101. Maria Calvert, 41:58; 102. Bridget Boyer, 42:37; 103. Audrey McDonald, 42:39; 104. Abi Miller, 42:43; 105. Eden Alioto, 42:45; 106. Katie Turner, 43:00; 107. Olivia Dammeyer, 43:05; 108. River Sullivan, 47:20; 109. Kelly Hicks, 48:39; 110. Suzanne Alioto, 50:19; 111. Kristin Morrow, 50:24; 112. Yvonne Oren, 50:25; 113. Sean McKeown, 50:32; 114. Janelle McKeown, 51:03; 115. Elizabeth Dailey, 51:56; 116. Kimberly Kenyon, 52:28; 117. Johna Beech, 52:37; 118. Lance Spindler, 52:54; 119. Marianne Dailey, 54:31; 120. Gayle Koger, 54:33; 121. Tammy Strausbaugh, 54:54; 122. Susie Strausbaugh, 54:56; 123. Katie Nye, 1:03:08.