Kahlael Allen stood on the starting line for the 800 with nearly a dozen other competitors in colorful attire. While he stood out in his neon green singlet and money-printed tights and matching socks, it was his height that perhaps put a spotlight on him.
The seven year-old was nearly half the size of those he stood next to, and half the age, but the look on his face was the same: eyes glazed over in focus, eyebrows down, he was ready to race.
When the whistle blew and the dozen runners jumped off the line, Allen pumped his arms to keep pace while his long braids drifted behind him like turbulent waves in his wake.
Ahead of him a hot race was brewing with athletes over twice his age, but that didn't matter for Allen, who exuded the purity of a true competitor - it didn't matter how old or tall anyone was, he put every ounce of effort he had into each stride, which was considerably shorter than his competitors.
Despite his single-digit age, Allen is no stranger to competition - he opened up his MileSplit account nearly four years ago, and this was just another night of business for him.
As the race wore on Allen pumped his arms all the more, and occasionally took a glance behind him to check on his chasers. With a lap to go he put his heart, legs, and lungs into each stride as he very literally left it all out on the track.
Inspired by the effort, or perhaps it was his money-printed tights and matching socks, Allen drew a crowd of supporters who urged him on through the final lap and across the line. The seven year-old didn't win the race, but he did win the crowd. He crossed in 2:40 - a massive personal best.
And Allen wasn't the only one putting on a show inside Steinhauer Field House Thursday night...