CHAMPION BOY: Allen, who completed 32 races throughout last year, demonstrates his winning technique.
With his unassuming vibe and medium-built five-foot-seven-inch frame, Duwell Allen might appear to the average onlooker as an Average Joe. But those who know him, especially in local sporting circles, know that this humble guy is in fact a powerhouse athlete with real championship spirit.
For the past two years, the 31-year-old has been the most dominant force in the sport of race-walking in Jamaica, copping first-place titles, trophies and numerous gold medals at 5K, 10K and 2K road races from Kingston to Montego Bay. He’s been at it since 2003. “I realized running wasn’t for me,” he tells TALLAWAH, basking in post-victory satisfaction at the Run for Your Heart 5K in New Kingston on February 2. (He also won this past Sunday's Sagicor/Sigma Run/Walk at the same venue).
“I tried running at first, but I wasn’t doing so well. Then I recalled that I’m always walking. So in 2013 I decided to take up race-walking seriously. I started out coming like 5th and then 3rd, but I wanted to win, so I worked on it, and it started happening. In 2018, I started to dominate.”
He did 26 races in 2018, stepping it up to 32 in 2019 – sometimes participating in as many as three races in one day.
Allen has developed a results-oriented training regimen that incorporates technique with a strict adherence to the discipline required for form development. “From Sunday to Thursday I work on my fitness routine. I try to build up all the muscle groups,” he explains. “A little running is involved, but walking is my thing, so I’m always perfecting my technique.”
How he stays in tip-top shape to outperform the competition also has a lot to do with proper diet and nutrition. “I’m a vegetarian, so I eat a lot of fish and vegetables,” he shares. This month he’s trying something new. “I’m trying the ketogenic diet, which gives you nutrition from fats. About 65-70% fats, 25% protein, carbs and fruits.”
But the sportsman’s overall nutrition goal is centred on achieving desired results through balanced eating. “Basically my aim is to achieve optimal health,” he says. “Getting rid of body fat and turning it into muscle.”
Another aim is to further boost his profile locally and in the region. Since August of last year he’s being sponsored by Creation Foods Limited. “I also want to get the attention of the JAAA and the JOA to form a race-walking committee, because the sport in Jamaica has the potential to get much bigger,” he argues. “There are a few of us who compete, and now we just need the government and corporate support.”
>> How to Race-Walk: Allen breaks it down for beginners
“To start out, go at a comfortable pace. Not too fast. Race-walking is very technical and can take a toll on the body without proper technique. Some people develop shin problems. To get the right form and to build up a rhythm, use heel and toe, rotate the hips, and slowly the muscle memory will develop.”