Running on the San Francisquito Canyon trail in Santa Clarita, Alex Allevato had a confession to make to his friend and training partner David Magana: He had been cut from the track team at UC Irvine.
It wasn’t a matter of performance. After walking on to the team, Allevato clocked 9:40.53 in the 3,000-meter race and 4:09.52 in the 1,500 in his freshman year. It wasn’t due to lack of passion, either. He loved running.
It was just business. The team had to be trimmed and since Allevato didn’t have a scholarship, he was the first to go.
“It was devastating and everything,” Allevato said, “but it was probably the best thing to ever happen to me.”
The 2014 Valencia High School grad turned his devastation into motivation. He focused on his education and began training for duathlons and triathlons. On July 8, he’ll be representing the United States at the 2018 Fyn ITU Duathlon World Championships in Fyn, Denmark.
“I’m really excited to be able to wear USA across my chest,” Allevato said. “Never thought I’d be able to do that, so I’m really honored to be able to race for Team USA.”
Allevato, 21, started taking running seriously in junior high. When he got to Valencia, he joined the cross country and track and field teams. In track, he started out running the 100-meter dash, then slowly transitioned to distance events.
In cross country, he was part of the first Vikings team to reach the CIF-Southern Section prelims. He also won the SCV 5k in 2012.
Despite a successful prep running career, Allevato decided to focus on academics at UC Irvine and pursued an engineering degree. There was still a lingering desire to be active, however.
Even after he was cut from the track team, Allevato joined a triathlon club on campus to keep running.
“It was pretty difficult with classes, but it was nice because we had certain practice times for our team and we just made sure we go to those like an hour a day and it kept me in shape,” Allevato said.
While triathlons are more common, it’s the duathlon that Allevato favors. Instead of a combination of running, biking and swimming, duathlons consist of running, then biking, then more running.
Even though there is one less event, a duathlon isn’t any easier than a triathlon. Allevato, who has been competing in duathlons for the past two years, said the most difficult part is getting his leg muscles to switch from one activity to the next and then back again without getting sore. Staying motivated isn’t an issue.
“Usually I just try to chase people down,” Allevato said. “Like, trying to be competitive and racing hard.”
Allevato trains either once or twice a day to prepare for duathlons – typically doing some combination of running and cycling. Magano, who ran with Allevato in high school, usually tags along in the summer when the pair is home from college.
“I’m kind of his running buddy,” Magano said. “I run with him while he trains and support him and get my own workout in, too … he will push you to do your best and will literally push you to make sure he gets a good workout in.”
At the 2017 USA Triathlon Duathlon National Championships in Bend, Oregon, Allevato finished the sprint duathlon in one hour, four minutes and 21 seconds to claim second place in the male 20 to 24 age group and 17th overall to advance to the Duathlon World Championships.
He did it all after finishing up his diploma, too.
“It was cool competing against the whole nation and it was pretty difficult because it was the week after finals week, so I didn’t have a lot of time to train,” Allevato said, “but I managed to get some training in beforehand and it was a good experience.”
The multi-tasking didn’t stop with college, either. Allevato started a job at Aerojet Rocketdyne and is going to grad school at UCLA while training for the World Championships.
“He never stops running. He never stops doing any type of sport or anything,” Magana said. “We always kept running and now he made a comeback. Now he’s doing a duathlon and triathlons and competing worldwide.”