Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
The first time Hannah Allgood ran trails, she swore she’d never do it again.
“I’d be out hiking with my husband, and he’d want to run down the trails we’d just hiked up. So I’d be out there with my backpack bouncing, tripping everywhere, and I’d just think, I hate this so much, says Allgood, 30, from Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Fortunately, she stuck with it. Allgood grew up playing soccer and basketball and describes herself as a very competitive person. “I love being competitive, but unfortunately, as an adult woman, there’s not always as many women’s leagues to play sports, so I needed somewhere to channel that,” says Allgood.
In 2018, she was crewing her husband Gil at an Xterra race, when she decided to jump in.
“I thought, well, I’m here. I might as well just do it, too,” says Allgood. “It was super fun and it was really hard, and that race was sort of a tipping point.”
Allgood got a coach. She started training more seriously. And this year, she’s decided to level up.
“Hannah really embodies the quote, ‘Be curious, not judgmental,’ in that she deeply believes in the process and looks forward to taking on new challenges, even if that involves elements of uncertainty,” says Allgood’s coach, Megan Roche. “As a coach, I feel like she would find a way to look forward to any workout I give her…so my training possibilities are endless. She also has a knack for translating training theory into practice and is always curious to learn more.”
Allgood was inspired by her participation in sports as a kid to pursue a career in sports medicine. As a physical therapist, she hopes to help young athletes develop kind and curious relationships with their bodies and develop a long-term approach to athletic development.
“Helping youth athletes is one of my biggest passions,” says Allgood. “Normalizing what they’re feeling, especially young female athletes is so important. I want to be an advocate for their mental health early on so that they can enjoy long careers ahead.”
An opportunity to level up in her career with a big test coincided with her original 2022 plans to run a Golden Ticket race like Bandera 100K or Black Canyon 100K. But study plans derailed those early season races, and Allgood decided to run the Gorge Waterfalls 100K, in Oregon, instead.
“I wanted to find a bigger event. Something to really push myself and put myself out there. If I believe in what I’m doing, this is what I need to do,” says Allgood. “And it was like a switch flipped inside me. I knew I could do this, and I wanted to prove that I could.”
The Gorge Waterfalls 100K started in 2011 as a 50K, with a 100K option added three years later. Then, wildfires in 2017 and the COVID pandemic put the event on indefinite hold before Freetrail and Daybreak Racing stepped in to revive the premiere PNW event. The race boasted a stacked field and live coverage further increased attention on the event.
Allgood ran a smart race from the gun, letting the early leaders race away from the start line while she held back, confident in her pacing and strategy.
“I knew what I needed to do to put together my best day, and I wasn’t going to do anything else,” says Allgood. “What’s important to me is pushing my own limits. I was focused on how I was doing, and what my fueling strategy was, not what works for everybody else.”
Allgood’s self-belief paid off, and she won the 2022 Gorge Waterfalls 100k. While her name may not have been as recognizable as some on the starting list, it was backed by a substantial resume of hard work and self-belief.
“Before the Gorge 100K, we talked about getting to that starting line knowing that she belonged among the race leaders. For her, that was a big step at the time, and she believed, trusted, and made it happen, ultimately winning the race in a dominant fashion,” says Roche.
Even after a decisive win, Allgood was still set on proving herself in the ultra community. So, she signed up for the San Juan Summer Solstice 50, a classic, Colorado mountain race with steep climbs and technical descents. Ultra legends Clare Gallagher and Hillary Allen would also be competing.
“After a win at Gorge, it would be an easy mindset to want to definitively keep that win streak rolling, but I was so pumped that she was immediately willing to step to that very top level and compete with the trail running legends. She did so, and she won. But even if she stepped up and didn’t have that result, I know she still would have looked at the race experience as a key stepping stone in her career.”
Now, Allgood felt like she had some expectations to live up to. She signed with Dynafit and was running in a professional kit for the first time.
“It was the most terrifying race of my life. I was putting pressure on myself, with the great runners and deciding to level up, and that was definitely a mental challenge. Now, I felt like I had to do well, versus when nobody knew who I was,” says Allgood. She says she was equal parts inspired and intimidated by the competition, but determined to keep putting one foot in front of the other, and believing.
Allgood won that race, too. She credits it to her immense curiosity about just what is possible when you believe in yourself.
“In addition to being incredibly talented and hardworking, Hannah has a lot of fun in her training and running lifestyle. She brings the strong candy vibes, playlist jams, and strength work moves to her training, and I think that added layer of fun helps with getting vulnerable. From coaching experience, it’s a whole lot easier to be brave when it’s not a miserable experience, and I love seeing how much fun Hannah has with all that she does.”
“The overarching thing that I want everyone to know about how I got here is how important it is to believe in yourself. I just want everyone to have that. It’s game-changing.” Allgood pauses. “No, it’s life-changing.”
This week, Allgood will toe the line at the UTMB’s CCC race from Courmayeur, Italy to Chamonix, France. A rugged mountain 100K with over 20,000 feet of climbing around the Mont-Blanc massif.
“Putting yourself in challenging situations is more important than anything else,” says Allgood. “It’s not about what other people are doing, or what is hard or cool to them. You’ve got to do it for yourself. And that’s what I love most about trail running. Those lessons are so important for life beyond the trail.”