Senior cross country runner Allyson Oram has been a real trailblazer during the 2013 Elon University cross country season. The Marlborough, Mass. native has been the first Elon runner to cross the finish line in all four races she participated in, finishing in the top 10 in two of them. Oram has been inspired to end her Elon career on a high note and has done so in her senior season.
“Senior year is a big thing,” she said. “I know it’s my last year so it’s extra motivation.”
Oram’s strong season has been rewarded by being selected to the Southern Conference First Team All-Conference with her fifth-place finish during the Southern Conference Championships.
“It means a lot to me, it was something I’ve been so close to, but this year I finally got it,” Oram said. “It’s shown how far our program has grown.”
Oram felt her place amongst the conference’s elite runners was homage to her full career at Elon.
“All the hard work I’ve put in over the four years has finally been shown,” she said.
Oram saved the best for last in the 2013 season. During the NCAA regionals in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend, Oram broke her own school record in the 6K with a time of 21:15.6. Her finish was good enough for 26th place out of 265 runners. Oram’s top form and record-breaking races did not go unnoticed by her coaches.
“I’m so proud of everything she has accomplished this season,” said head coach Christine Engel.
Despite Oram’s best efforts, the Phoenix still fell up short in terms of the team title. The women’s team fell just short of the Conference crown losing by just two points to Furman University.
“It was disappointing that we didn’t win conference, we were all hoping (to win),” Oram said. “But from a conference standpoint, we really gave it our all.”
After not running in Elon’s season opening meet at Wake Forest University, Oram made her season debut during the team’s only home race of the year, the Elon Invitational. Running on her home course, Oram finished third overall with a time of 17:42. Oram led the Phoenix to a second-place finish in the event, losing out to conference and local rival University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
“I started off pretty well at the Elon Invitational but I think (by) going to all the more competitive races with a lot more teams I was able to show what I really had,” Oram said.
Oram rose to the occasion as the season ramped up and the competition increased. Her first major test came in the Greater Louisville Classic. Oram impressively finished 24th out of 288 runners with a time of 17:51.77.
“I think I have become stronger throughout the whole season,” Oram said. “All the training I had done really showed in those (more difficult) races.”
Many athletes falter with the pressure in competing in big events, but not Oram.
“She just brings a different level to her game when she races especially in the bigger races, the ones that matter most,” Engel said. “For the rest of the girls, they look up to that. She just brings another level of fierceness with her on race day.”
It was Oram’s strong showing in Kentucky that earned her the SoCon Runner of the Month award in October. This marked the first time since 2011 that an Elon woman runner earned the award.
“I was really excited,” Oram said. “I was surprised that I won. I was really thankful and it just shows if you put in the effort good things will happen.”
The best was yet to come from the senior runner. In her next meet, Oram broke the school record in the 6K race during the NCAA Pre-Nationals. Oram’s time of 17:56.74 blew away the old program record and was an amazing 33 seconds faster than her previous best. Her record stood for just two weeks as Oram went on to break her own record again during the NCAA Regionals meet. Oram holds the program’s record in the 5K and the 6K, a goal she always had her eyes on.
“When I didn’t have those records, it definitely motivated me to reach those goals,” Oram said. “But now, I’m just focused on bettering my team, bettering myself pace-wise.”
With her strong showings throughout the year, Oram has stood out as not only a top runner on the team, but also a leader.
“I do think I’m a leader,” she said. “I’ve been doing this for four years so I have more experience (than my teammates).”
Aside from her experience on the track, Oram said she also tries to lead by example through her confidence and calmness.
“I think my confidence has grown a lot this year knowing that I deserve to be with the top girls and that I can race with them,” Oram said. “I can lead in a way where I exert a lot more calmness. I think when they see how I am when it comes to races if I’m calming and have a positive mindset, that’s going to show all the other girls that they’re going to be okay.”
As her collegiate career draws to a close, Oram has reflected on nothing but good things during her four years at Elon.
“I’ve loved everyone I’ve trained with Just getting to know my teammates has been awesome. The team aspect has been amazing for the past four years,” Oram said. “I’ve learned a lot from my teammates and coach and I think it’s made me a more confident person in general, but also the best runner I could have been. It’s been a great four years and I’m going to miss it.”