Allie Wilson After Winning The 2024 U.S. Indoor 800m Title Unsponsored, Headed To World Indoors

The CITIUS MAG Podcast

February 22, 2024

"It always felt a little phony for me to be like, ‘I'm going to make this team,’ or ‘I'm going to do this,’ because it hadn't happened yet. And now it has. And now I know that I can do it when it matters most."

Allie Wilson just won the U.S. Indoor Championships 800m title in Albuquerque, New Mexico for her first career national crown. With the victory, she also qualified for the World Indoor Championships taking place in Glasgow, Scotland next month. This will be her first time on a U.S. national team for a global championship.

For Allie, the victory comes after a series of shortcomings at national championships. She was sixth at the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials. She was fourth at the 2022 U.S. Championships. Last year was a rollercoaster year where she only reached the semifinals and was also dealing with the fact that her coaches Andrew and Amy Begley would be parting ways with the Atlanta Track Club. She decided to take a risk and leave the team and her sponsorship with Adidas to follow her coaches to Indiana, where she is now living and training. This weekend gave her confidence in her decision-making.

Host: Chris Chavez | ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@chris_j_chavez on Instagram⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠

Guest: Allie Wilson | ⁠⁠⁠⁠⁠@allie_oop9 on Instagram⁠⁠⁠

Allie WilsonAllie Wilson

Johnny Pace / @PacePhoto

Time stamps:

  • 4:14 - Thoughts after qualifying for her first U.S. team.
  • 5:04 - When she realized that changes would be happening with the Atlanta Track Club (ATC).
  • 6:44 - Why she decided to stick with her coaches after leaving ATC.
  • 13:43 - Her running career trajectory over the past few years.
  • 17:20 - The race where she made the biggest jump in her running career.
  • 19:25 - Her emotions after winning the 800m at Indoor USAs + what the race means to her.
  • 23:12 - How she gets the most out of herself in races.
  • 25:18 - Getting tripped up in the 800m at Indoor USAs.
  • 26:05 - How she responded to getting tripped up.
  • 28:07 - Breaking down the race.
  • 30:07 - Celebrating after the race.
  • 32:06 - How she overcame doubts leading into the race.
  • 37:53 - Why she switched up her hairstyle for Indoor USAs.
  • 39:51 - How she’s been able to support herself as an unsponsored athlete.
  • 45:10 - Her relationship with the family she nannies for.
  • 49:10 - What she eats on race day.
  • 51:35 - Her experience being featured on Road to Tracktown.
  • 53:44 - The most nervous she’s been before a race.
  • 55:06 - Her favorite race of all-time.
  • 58:20 - The best piece of advice she’s been given by a coach.
  • 59:37 - Her plans for what’s next.

The following interview excerpt has been edited lightly for clarity. You can listen to the full interview with Allie Wilson on the CITIUS MAG Podcast – available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your shows.

CITIUS MAG: You opened this year with a U.S. title. How are you feeling about the start of 2024?

Allie Wilson: It feels really good. After my race this past weekend, obviously I got very emotional. I think a lot of the reason was because up until this point, I had felt like there was this barrier every time that a race really mattered… When it really matters is when I always feel like I race differently. I didn't race to my potential and I couldn't figure out why, but I knew that deep down. It really stressed me out every time I showed up to a championship because historically speaking, I had never performed how I felt like I could have…

I feel like that's why I got so emotional after that race – because this was the first time where I performed to my standards when it mattered. And that's such a big relief off my shoulders now, especially going into the Olympic year. It always felt a little phony for me to be like, ‘I'm going to make this team,’ or ‘I'm going to do this,’ because it hadn't happened yet. And now it has. And now I know that I can do it when it matters most.

CITIUS MAG: Going into the final lap, did doubts creep into your head? What were you thinking about in that final lap?

Allie Wilson: Coming around that last lap, I was repeating those things to myself. I was like, ‘I can do this. I can win this race.' Obviously I had no idea what was going on behind me. And I quite frankly didn't know everyone was as close as they were. Afterwards, people were talking about how it was a blanket finish and I was like, ‘Really? I had no idea.’ I was just trying to focus on getting everything I could out of that last lap and making it hard to catch me if anyone was right there.

Coming around the last turn, I was like, ‘I have something left. Let's just leave it all out here and see what happens.’ Honestly, when I crossed the finish line, I was very confused. It's funny to me to see my Millrose race pictures – I'm like, ‘Yay! I won!’ And these ones, I'm making this weird face because I couldn't even believe it myself. Because I did think I knew what was going to happen in that race. And I did rewrite that narrative.”

CITIUS MAG: Another part of your story that’s been impactful to people is that since you left the Atlanta Track Club and moved to Indianapolis, you're no longer sponsored. So you've been doing this entire indoor season unsponsored.

Allie Wilson: A part of my ego was like, ‘Am I moving back because now I'm contractless?’ No – I care about this dream and it's just what I have to do in the meantime. I'm really grateful that I was able to find (the family I nanny for). It's helped a lot. Honestly, even if I get a contract, I'll probably still want to help them a little bit because they were there for me when I needed them. And I'm very loyal. But yeah, Ray (Flynn) has already reached out, saying there's some things on the table now. I don't know any of the details yet, he actually had told my coaches. So I'm just over here waiting a little bit to see what he says…

I have no idea who would be interested or what kind of contracts they might be coming up with. For a second there, it did feel, ‘Is this ever going to happen? Am I going to get through this whole year having to figure this out?’ I know a lot of people do it, and I know that I could have done it if I had to. But it's just not really what I thought was going to happen for the year. But I took a chance and I went out on a limb, and here we are. I think that it's all falling into place the way that I was hoping, and actually even a little better.

CITIUS MAG: What's the best advice a coach has given you?

Allie Wilson: My favorite advice (Bianca) has ever given me is to leave room for the possibility that something could happen. A lot of times, we're going into these races and it’s just so much and you're like, ‘Everyone is so fast, how am I going to possibly ever do the thing I'm trying to do?’ She always just reminds me to leave room for the possibility that it could happen. It may not happen, but it may happen. Just let there be that little glimmer of belief in the depth of your soul and it could happen. I feel like this weekend was a really good example of that.

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Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.

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