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OGDEN — Weber State University's cross-country and track programs officially have a "first couple," and they go by the names of Christian and Summer Allen.
In the space of two weeks, they have each earned All-American and broken school records in the 5,000-meters. As recently as Saturday, at the Sharon Colyear-Danville Season Opener in Boston, the power couple each earned school records in the 5,000-meters — Summer completed the distance in a time of 15:56.45, and Christian did so in 13:36.50.
Summer Allen broke the 2007 record set by WSU Hall of Famer and former Olympian Lindsey Anderson, according to Weber State Athletics Department's website. The time she ran is also the third fastest in Big Sky Conference history. Christian Allen bested the old school record by 15 seconds.
These amazing feats came at the heels of the NCAA Cross Country National Championships on Nov. 12, where both Summer and Christian Allen were able to earn All-American status.
Oh, and did we forget to mention that they have a 22-month-old son?
The couple, who literally takes all of this in stride, said that doing so together has not only made it worthwhile but has made it possible.
"I think Christian and I both motivate and inspire each other to be better," Summer Allen said. "If he starts doing something that he thinks is helping him, I start doing it, too, and vice versa. Mainly, I think we just encourage each other and support each other in reaching our goals."
Christian Allen agreed, adding that his wife is the one who reminds him to enjoy running.
"I have loved being able to run alongside my wife in college," he said. "I feel we are a great team and really push each other. We hold each other accountable for our goals and the steps we are taking to reach those goals. Summer has inspired me in many ways; however, I feel the way she has inspired me the most is by reminding me to have fun and embrace the joy of running. She is always happy and in good spirits, and is able to find the good when things are hard."
Summer Allen, who is completing her master's degree in education with a family life education emphasis, and who also comes from a family of competitive runners, said that she felt that she had unfinished business. She said that it was important to her to find what she was capable of. In fact, this past June, Summer competed at the Olympic Trials in the steeplechase in Eugene, Oregon.
"Before I had our son, Miles, I just felt like I had left a lot unfinished at Weber State and with my running career in general," she said. "I wanted to run like I knew I was capable of. I had goals and dreams I hadn't accomplished and that I didn't feel I had given a fair shot. Coming back gave me that fair shot."
Christian Allen, who is studying professional sales and hoping to get into a master's program in the future, said that he loves the honesty of running and how an athlete really does get out of it what he or she puts in.
"It has meant a lot to me to be able to reach my goals of becoming All-American and hitting times that I have set," he said. "I love the accountability of running. Running can't be cheated. Running can't be lied to. Running knows what it gets and it gives what it receives. I know I have to put in the work, I have to be dedicated, I have to do what others aren't willing to do. I feel free as I push myself to new boundaries. It's a feeling that I never want to go, so I never stop chasing it."
Juggling school, running and family life with a child has its challenges, Summer Allen said. But the couple tries the best they can and are appreciative of the support they've been given.
"I'm super grateful for all of the second chances and opportunities I've gotten to race and to perform well," she said. "It's been super fun and rewarding putting in the hard work and then watching it pay off, and I'm especially grateful for supportive people around us that make it possible for us to do what we do. Our coaches are super accommodating of us bringing Miles on trips."
This power duo — or shall we say trio — isn't quite finished yet with an indoor track season just around the corner. The Allens say that while they aren't totally certain of what the long-term future holds, they both agree that family and running will be a constant as they move forward.
"I love running the trails and hope that I can run professionally on the trails along with some hybrid road running," Christian Allen said. "My biggest goal of all is to be the best husband, father, brother, son and friend to all."