MileSplit, which bills itself as the premier website for high school cross-country and track and field, will use the story of Kenai Central senior and running standout Allie Ostrander to launch a series of videos chronicling elite athletes.
“On The Rise: Allie Ostrander” will be released in two episodes. The first was released late last month, while the second was released this week.
“It was a really unique and great experience,” said Teri Ostrander, who is Allie’s mother and cross-country coach. “I think Allie just kind of caught the attention of runners in particular.
“I think people also are just fascinated by Alaska.”
Brandon Miles, who is the national editor for MileSplit and also produced the film on Ostrander, said the profile will be premium content on the site. Premium content costs $7.99 a month or $60 a year.
Miles said there could be a third episode after Ostrander runs at Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Ore., on Dec. 6.
Miles said the genesis of the Ostrander video was when FloCasts purchased MileSplit in August. FloCasts also owns FloTrack, a website which did a Driven video series about elite track and field athletes.
FloCasts wanted to bring that video profile dimension to MileSplit and Ostrander was chosen as the first athlete.
“Allie Ostrander came to mind given the fact that she is one of the top runners in the country and has a really unique situation living and training in Alaska,” Miles said. “She’s isolated from the top runners in the Lower 48 so there’s a mystery and intrigue.”
Miles also would like to see cross-country and track and field become mainstream sports, and he sees this video series as a step in that direction.
“One of the big things is to create celebrity in the sport,” he said. “She has a big following in Alaska, and starting nationally, and this will make her a much larger star.
“Many can become fans and follow her at the college, and hopefully professional, level.”
The interest in the video so far is strong, with more than 10,000 views of the trailer on MileSplit in about 48 hours.
“I don’t know that any of us expected it to be quite like this,” Teri Ostrander said. “Allie’s Facebook page just blew up when they released that trailer.
“I thought it would kind of be a fun thing to promote the sport, but it caught me off-guard, in a positive way, how many people responded.”
Teri said Allie’s raised profile also was apparent on the trip to the Nike Cross Nationals Northwest Regionals on Nov. 15 in Boise, Idaho.
“It’s a little mind-blowing,” she said. “People recognized us on the way to Boise. Complete strangers were saying, ‘Oh, the Ostranders are on our plane.’”
Miles hired a freelancer from Portland and spent two days in Alaska in early November.
He interviewed Ostrander’s parents, Paul and Teri, as well as students and staff at the school. Some staff in the video will be Tim Sandahl and Stacia Rustad, while students Jordan Theisen, Jonah Theisen, Hannah Drury, Sarah Every and Ian Ashley took part in the video shoot.
Teri said the one unfortunate part about the shoot was the lack of snow, which means viewers don’t get a full idea of how hard training for running can be in Alaska.
The profile also has footage obtained from other Alaska races and from Miles’ coverage of Ostrander at the Northwest Regionals. Ostrander was second in that race.
While Miles was here, Alaska delivered the money shot, with a moose darting in front of Ostrander and a teammate as they came back from a long run.
“I tweeted out the picture on social media and a lot of people were enjoying that,” said Miles of the tweet that appeared Nov. 5 on @milesplit.
Ostrander’s breakthrough on the national scene came in April 2014 at the Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles, where she finished second in the 3,200 meters with a blazing time of 10 minutes, 3.66 seconds.
“I was there at Arcadia when she ran the two mile and I had no idea who she was,” Miles said. “I thought she was a breakout freshman, and she turned out to be a junior.
“I think you’ll see in the video that was a big moment in her career.”
Miles then became more impressed with Ostrander as he got to know her.
“My impression of Allie is she’s basically like a little adult,” he said. “She’s so disciplined in everything she does, and motivated and driven to be the best she can be.”
Teri Ostrander is a little surprised at how quickly attention has followed Allie all the way up to Alaska, but she said her daughter is taking it in stride.
“Allie seems to be handling herself pretty well,” Teri said. “She’s being herself whether the camera is there or not. I don’t see a big change in her mannerisms or behavior.”