Monday, July 28, 2014

Eugene Half Marathon: My Brother's Day

If you're a runner, or follow Track and Field in the United States, you recognize this special place.

Hayward Field is in Eugene, Oregon (aka Tracktown USA) on the campus of the University of Oregon. It's host to all sorts of national and international track and field events, as well as Olympic Trials.

Eugene is where the Nike shoe was born, where they say running was born, and where being a "Duck" is special (it's the mascot of the university..."Go Ducks!").

I know this because it's the city where I was born and raised as a child.

During my freshman year of college I lived in a U of O dorm right across the street from Hayward field where I could watch runners on the track from my second floor window.

It looks exactly the same today as it did thirty five years ago!

Notice the Czech flag hanging from a window? Who would've guessed 35 years ago that a girl who lived in that dorm would move to the Czech Republic one day!
I would've given anything to be at Hayward Field yesterday as it was not only the host of the IAAF Junior Championships this past week-end, but was also the finish line for the Eugene Half Marathon.

That my brother ran in.

After only finding out ten days ago that he had a free entry compliments of a friend!

In order to be done in time for the Junior Championships to resume their day, the half marathon started at 6 AM, thus the early morning light in the photo above.

Mike is a great runner, a true Eugenian! But even if you're a good runner, it doesn't mean you can train for a half marathon in ten days.

But he did, despite calf cramps for a few days that kept him from running, and flu like symptoms for a few other that also kept him home.

Despite those circumstances, yesterday morning, bright and early, he decided to go ahead and give it a try.

He not only did it, but finished in 2:21!!!

A very respectable half marathon time even for someone who DID train. But an amazing time for someone who didn't!! I'm SOOO proud of him, and told him to send me photos so I could enjoy his victory, and write about it today!

CONGRATULATIONS Mike!!! Hey, and you even got a medal! :)

One other significance about Eugene: perhaps the greatest runner ever to come out of the U of O was Steve Prefontaine. That's him in the photo above. He competed in the 1972 Olympics, and once held the American record in seven track events.

Sadly he died in a car accident in 1975 at just 24 years of age.

But the month or so before he died, he'd been to our family's house in Coburg, Oregon. He was interested in buying it since it was on the market because my dad had received a job promotion to Portland, Oregon and we were moving.

Even as little kids, Mike and I knew who he was and it was a pretty exciting day to have him at our home. I think we both feel a connection to him because of that, though he didn't end up buying our house.

I'm proud to be from Eugene, Oregon, and super proud of my brother for his success at the Eugene half marathon yesterday!!


  1. What a fun post Connie! And I never heard the story of you guys meeting Steve Prefontaine! Crazy Cool! And I wrote to Mike on his Facebook wall yesterday to say that he and your Dave are made out of the same cloth-----running half marathons without having fully trained! I love it!

    Go Mike!

  2. Thanks so much for blogging this for me, now I can remember it forever.

    I was a bit sore the first evening and night but bounced back great the next day.

    I would put a disclaimer on running a half marathon with no training: "Hey kids,don't try this at home"!