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Monday, April 9

Eugene, Oregon

The ABCs and running series: Today's topic "Eugene, Oregon"
We stumbled out of our hotel room - runners on, heading into a nearby park. Quite by accident we found a park sign describing the trail we were standing on - it was the very path Steve Prefontaine took his training runs on.
Before us, woody embraces that cradled the path. We followed it along as it opened up and ran alongside the mighty Willamette River. This was my first run in Eugene. Track Town USA.
[I made Eugene my hometown 4 months later.]

What makes a town a good place for runners?

Eugene has mostly mild winters and not too hot summers - perfect for running all year round. [I know it rains a little but this gives you a chance to vary your wardrobe.]

Plenty of Running Trails
The Willamette River bikeway system - 12 mile loop around the river. You can access the path easily from most neighborhoods. Did I mention it includes five footbridges?
There is also a 7 mile flat path that follows the Amazon Creek into town.
If you have to run on the streets - there are lots of bike lanes.
And if you're looking for some trail running, there are 2 Buttes in the city with challenging hikes.

Bill Bowerman [coach] - turned Eugene into the Mecca of American track and field and created first pair of waffle-soled racing flats. (Nike Empire was born.)
Steve Prefontaine - I visited his memorial the other day and was humbled by the moment.
[Watch this YouTube clip from "Fire on the Track."]
Joe Henderson - found leading a local running group. He was the former chief editor of Runner's World magazine.

Runner's Fuel
Starbucks -> 15 locations
Sweet Life Patisserie
Café YUMM!
Laughing Planet - think dinosaurs and burritos!

Running with Local Champs
Marla Runyan
Galen Rupp
Nick Symmonds - listen to a podcast interview with him over at final sprint.

Exciting Events
Eugene Marathon - first one in 20 years. I'm looking forward to this event . My only complaint is the start and finish lines are in different locations.... [Who will be on shuttle bus?]
BTW It's my first half-half marathon!
The Nike Prefontaine Classic - a great event to watch.
2008 Olympic Trials - USA Track & Field awarded the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials to Eugene, Ore.
Eugene Challenge Mile - Brought to you by Eugene Running Company. Just a mile easy, right? Last year's winning time - 00:04:08!

Track Town USA

"My celebration is being home and being quiet and then going on the road and checking it out." - Jon Anderson