Julianna Determan and Allie Trueb.EDWARDSVILLE - Former Edwardsville High runners Julianna Determan and Allie Trueb were among many of the former Tiger cross country runners who returned for the 25th running of the Mud Mountain 5K Classic, held recently at SIU-Edwardsville's famed course, and both ran particularly well

Determan came in second in the women's race, coming in with a time of 20:17.25, while Trueb, who was known as Allie Sweatt during her high school days, came in 12th at 23:31.77. But both agreed that returning to the race and interacting with old teammates and alumni was the most important thing.

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"Yeah, it's really fun to come out here and run with everybody that ran with in high school and grew up with," Determan said during a joint interview with Trueb after the race. "It's just good to see everybody, especially after this past year."

Trueb was in agreement with Determan.

"Oh, yeah, it's good to see everyone from high school," Trueb said "and then, like the current high schoolers, and all the alumni and even some girls I ran with in college and competed against. So it's really awesome to see everyone coming together to support the Edwardsville program."

It was also very important to have returned after the COVID-19 Pandemic turned last year's event into a virtual race, and returning meant a lot to both Trueb and Determan.

"Oh, yeah," Trueb said. "i've taken a little over two-year hiatus from running, so this ls my first kind of race coming back, trying to get back into it. It's awesome to have the support of everyone, and see everyone again."

"I just graduated college in May," Determan said, 'I'm done competing for my university, so it's trying to get back into that transition of I'm no longer a student-athlete, so it's kind of fun to come out here and see all the current student-athletes and everything."

Both runners have many fond memories of running for the Tigers when they were in high school.

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"Oh, gosh, too many to count," Determan said with a smile. "Definitely state cross country every year, but I think my junior year was probably the best year, because we had a really great group of girls there. We just had a lot of really great inside jokes and fun memories."

Trueb also shared her favorite memories involving the Tigers, going back to when she was in elementary school.

"Mud Mountain's always been a part of, like, basically my childhood," Trueb said. "I remember coming out here in elementary school to watch my brothers race and compete. And so like coming back, one year, I went out and ran it, and I didn't know what to expect, and I ended up winning for the women, and it's always is a surprise. You really never know how you're going to do, and it always depends on the day and everything. But, yeah, there are so many good memories, having coach (George Patrylak) being able to coach me and my brothers, and him and his wife be like second parents to us. It was always being awesome. And then, having coach (Dustin) Davis, who ran with my brother and graduated with my brother; they were good friends in high school, getting to coach me in my senior year in track was really cool. So getting the support of everyone, and watching myself grow into not only the athlete, but the woman I am today, it has all shaped who I am. So I can't pick just one."

Despite COVID and the problems the pandemic has caused, and in some cases, continues to cause, it's also brought about positive changes as well.

"It feels good coming back and getting back into shape," Trueb said. "It's really been a roller coaster. COVID has probably inspired me the most to get back out there and do things, and not take life for granted. So yeah, I'm happy to be able now able to be vaccinated and get out here and compete is really awesome."

Determan was also grateful to be back and running as well.

"Yeah, COVID was definitely - It was pretty hard, I would say, mentally to keep pushing and everything," Determan said. "And it was my senior year of college, so I missed my senior year in cross country season, and track was different this year. But I was thankful to still get it. Yeah, just being able to be vaccinated and coming out and knowing that we're finally able to do these things was really awesome."

Both agreed on one thing --- there's no place like home

"Good to be home," Trueb said with a smile. "Always good to be home."

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