Return to : Home

Featured Athlete - Alanna Jones

I’m always on the lookout for new faces and I never know when or where I’ll find one. Alanna Jones just snuck up on me. I was at the Reggie Lewis Center at a coach's meeting and as I was sitting in the bleachers Alanna caught my eye. I think what caught my eye was the fact that I was watching someone with a distinctive form and I had no clue who she was. I hate when that happens! She appeared to be running effortlessly and in this particular workout she was doing the bulk of the work, leading her training partner through most of the intervals. On a whim I hit my stopwatch as she started her next interval. I can’t remember the time but it was a full 1000M and fairly fast. Fast enough so that she got my immediate respect. From that point on I kept one eye on the meeting and one on her workout – impressed at both the quality of the varying intervals and the speed of recovery.

As she started her warm down I decided to time my departure with the end of her workout. I ended up staying longer than anticipated – she just wouldn’t stop running. Finally I had to leave and as I passed her I called out “Are you almost done!” She smiled and replied “Just one more lap.” When she finished up she walked over to where I was standing – perceptive enough to know I had something on my mind. I explained who I was and she was happy to talk track. My first words were “You’ve got to be a half miler.” She confirmed it and throughout the conversation she exhibited the poise and confidence I have come to associate with that event. By the end of the conversation I had her plugged in as a future “Featured Athlete”.

Statistical Information

Name : Alanna Jones

Age : 26

Town of Residence :Waltham

Profession :Personal Trainer

Pictured on right is Alanna as the pace setter in the mile at the Adidas Boston Indoor Games in 2004. This is not a reverse image - she has just been introduced and is headed to the starting line.

I'm always interested in someone's background and the fact that I had never met Alanna before only heightened my curiousity.
What got you started in running?
My sister ran in high school and my parents convinced me to give it a try. I was only 11 at the time and had a lot of difficulty running for longer than 5 minutes before needing to walk. It took me 4 years of running cross country before I completed my first race without stopping to walk throughout.
When did you first start to realize the level of talent you had?
My freshman year in high school I qualified and ran in the 1500m @ the Div II Vermont State Track Championships. I surprised everyone, including myself when I won the race. It was then that I realized.
What were your high school PR’s
400m:62, 800m 2:24, 1500m 4:50 Cross Country 19:52
That information only served to further pique my interest. Here was a runner who had moderate success at the high school level, yet she was burning up the track like a seasoned pro. I had to find out how she got to that point!
Why did you choose U of Vermont?
I actually chose Stonehill College, it was the only school I applied to (I don't recommend this). I was put on a waiting list (the year I graduated (95'), Stonehill had 1500 more first-year applicants than usual ). I was so disappointed and stubborn, that I chose not to go to college. It wasn't until May that UVM became a possibility. Mr Foersch (my high school coach) met with Ed Kusiak (UVM head coach) a few times in the season to discuss coaching tips and techniques. In conversation Kus asked where I was attending college in the fall, Coach Foersch said that I wasn't! "Would she be interested in UVM?" Unsure, Mr. Foersch brought me an application to fill out. The next day it was completed, and I was on my way to meet with Kus. Coach Foersch drove me, and within 15 minutes of my interview, my application was faxed to admissions. As we talked, the phone rang, and with a smile Kus told me I had been accepted. I was shocked, but what was more amazing was the fact that on top of everything Kus had done, I was also awarded a very generous partial track scholarship.
I have always wondered why Vermont and New Hampshire have produced so many quality distance runners given the shaky weather conditions. Here was my chance to learn more.

Was the weather there ever a problem for training?

I didn't realize it until I moved to Boston. When snow and cold is all you know (growing up in VT), there is nothing to compare it to until you live it. We also had an indoor track facility, so it wasn't uncommon to see me running up to 70 laps when it was below zero.

On to more background!

What was the highlight of your college career?

Winning the America East Indoor Championship my senior year in the 800m (2:09), and breaking a 20 year old school record held by Judy St. Hilaire.

Anyone who knows distance running should immediately take pause. Breaking a record set by Judy St. Hilaire - wow!

What made you decide to continue running after college?

I told myself that I wouldn't stop running competitively until I hit a plateau, or became injured to the point of where it would jeopardize my health.

Now, it was on to find out where she's now headed!
Were you involved with any running clubs between college and Reebok?


How did you get involved with Reebok?
Robert Hoppler (a distace coach) at UVM gave me two names of coaches to call in the Boston area, Andy Ronan and Bob Sevene. I tried Andy first, but didn't receive a call back, so I tried Sev and the rest is history.
This gave me the chance to find out more about opportunities for New England distance runners.

How does running for Reebok benefit you?

* I have a tremendous coach that takes the guess work out of workouts.

*An extremely talented group of athletes to train with.

*I'm provided with running equipment, travel expenses, and entry fees paid for.

*As well as given the opportunity to workout at a few of the best facilities in the country.

Who is your coach?
Kevin Curtain (He's great!)

What does your training schedule look like?
During Indoor Track we have workouts either M/W/F or T/TH/Sunday race. On my days away from the team I'll run anywhere between 3-7 miles according to how I feel.

Who do you train with? Erin Dromgoole, Maura Schnieder, Caitlin Murphy, Brandee Boice, Amanda Logan, and Yasheka Taylor. Right now my main training partner is Yasheka Taylor. She made the finals in the 800m (2:06.00) last year indoors. I've known her for years, we competed against each other in college, and now that we're on the same team. It's great. I can say so many positive things about this girl, but most importantly she's got a lot of heart. If it comes down to the final 100m of any race, there is no one that will give as much as Yasheka. She is an extremely TOUGH competitor, and I have a lot of respect for her.

Do you have any problems balancing running and work? No, my job is absolutely perfect for this sport. I am able to set my own hours, cross train throughout the day with my clients, sometimes get my run in with them, take time off for meets, and am surrounded by healthy individuals on a daily basis.

What is your favorite workout? I love descending intervals, because once you’re through the longest interval, it's all downhill. My favorite so far this season has been 1000 (38 secs pace) 800 (37 secs pace), 600 (36 seconds pace), 400 (33 seconds pace), 200 (30 seconds pace) *Four minutes rest between each interval.

Then it was on to gaining some information that might be of direct help to followers.
What does your prerace routine look like? 1 hr before a race I warm-up by running for 15 mins (I try to break a light sweat). Stretch for 5-10 minutes. Perform 5 different drills for 40 meters each (jogging back each time) I run 4x50 meter strides and then relax for 5 minutes. With five minutes remaining (before the race) I'll put my spikes on and run 2 more 50m strides.
Did your race at Dartmouth go according to plan?
Since this race is my first 800m, I didn't have a plan for pace, I was just going for the win, like everyone else. When the gun went off, I must have been sleeping, because everyone took off without me (I really need to work on my starts). I slowly moved up throughout the first lap until I was in second place. The leader went through in 31 while it took my 33.5 to find my stride. Keeping my eyes fixed on the leader, I started to close the gap. My second lap was 33.6. I felt extremely strong, but was too comfortable. I knew at this point that I wouldn't be running for a new PR. My third lap was a little slower 34.4, but I was able to move into the lead before the bell. I won with a 2:14.96 while second place was 2:17, I closed with 33.5 seconds. I was happy with the win, and to have run a respectable time on a flat track, but I know there is a lot of work ahead of me.
And how about the future!
What other races are in your near future?
GBTC (1/18) and Terrier Classic (1/31)

What are your goals for this winter and also over the next five years?
I would love to qualify for Nationals in either the 800m or the mile. I've been battling injuries since I moved here in the fall of 2000, so we'll see. I'm taking everything one step at a time, so five years from now who knows:)

Closing remarks.
Now that I've found out more about Alanna I can't wait to follow her progress. Both talented and articulate, Alanna has chosen to stretch her boundries and strive to discover he limits of her talent. Each step along the way she has found unpredicted success. As she takes it "one step at a time" she leaves most of her competition in the dust. wishes her good health and success over the coming years.