On the way up to Portland, Oregon, for the Foot Traffic Flat Marathon, I stopped in Eugene for a dose of inspiration. This college town (3rd largest city in Oregon) is known as “Track City USA” due to the number of track legends that have come from here, including Bill Bowerman (co-founder of Nike), Phil Knight (the other co-founder and current Nike CEO), Bill Delinger, Steve Prefontaine, Frank Shorter, Alberto Salazar, etc. To my delight, the University of Oregon even had posted a tribute to Bowerman, Delinger, and Prefontaine at Hayward field sometime since my last visit there in 2003.
For me, this was one of the highlights of my visit. In the summer, Eugene is remarkably quiet. The town kind of reminded me of Davis, California in this regard. I guess at this time of year, all of the college students were elsewhere…
And so it felt very much like a family-oriented town. At least the weather at this time of year was very nice! And there are numerous running trails, not surprising for a running mecca.
In July Eugene still is very green (in fact I’m not sure if there’s a time of year when it’s not), and this made for wonderful sports car driving outside the town. I only wish I found Skyline Blvd. and Pre’s Rock (where Steve Prefontaine spent his last moments of life under the crushing weight of him MGB), but alas, I did not do my homework in advance…
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