Chris Allen not only teaches physical education, he lives it. In fact, the P.E. teacher recently completed his first full Iron Man event. Allen is employed with Enterprise Elementary and South Shore Elementary in Decatur, Illinois where he combines his passion for physical fitness with his desire to teach.
The Iron Man consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run. The course is completed in order with no breaks over a period of 17 hours. It is a grueling and physically demanding event that requires extreme stamina.
Allen’s pursuit of completing the Iron Man began with a triathlon in 2009 followed by a half Iron Man two years ago. His family, including wife Ashley cheered him on during the all-day event which he says gave him the encouragement to push on.
Fitness has long been an important part of Allen’s life. He majored in physical education at Greenville College and went on the University at Edwardsville where he earned a master’s in kinesiology. After graduation he pursued a career as a personal trainer but said that he felt pulled towards teaching.
When a position opened up with the Decatur School District, Allen was quick to apply and be hired. “I haven’t regretted it for a moment,” he said. “My faith is a big part of my life, and I think it was God’s plan,” he said.
In addition to being a teacher, Allen also coaches soccer for Eisenhower High School. He strives to keep children moving the entire time he has them and says that he likes to find innovative ways of doing so. Recently, he introduced hula hoops into one of his classes to keep things new and fun.
Allen isn’t the only triathlete educator in Decatur, however, Beth McClure, a high school teacher at MacArthur High School is also well-known in the area for pushing the limits.