With miles and miles of running under my belt and plenty more in the future, I'm always looking for some variability and a new scene to accompany a morning or evening workout. Last week, I was lucky to be traveling on the west coast with a stop off in Eugene, Oregon. For those that don't know, Eugene is truly a Mecca for the distance runner.
The infatuation with running in Southwest Oregon probably dates back to the spirit of the Pioneers, but the true frenzy was released by a young school boy named Steve Prefontaine. The Marshfield High School runner took America by storm with his huge performances in the one mile and two mile distance categories. He later went on to become a true Legend in the 5,000 meter distance, and almost single handedly delivered America's running community into a running boom of success in the 1970's. In fact while running for the famed Oregon Track Club, he set American records in every distance from 2,000 meters to 10,000 meters.
Unfortunately for all of us, we lost Pre to a late night automobile accident at the young age of 24. But Pre's legend and his influence lives on - palpably so - in Eugene. Lucky for me, he has inspired a magnificent network of running trails in the downtown area, running up one side of the Willamette River and down the other -- http://www.eugenerunningcompany.com/home/erc1/smartlist_22/running_trails_in_eugene.html
With a little knowledge of the beautiful views to be had, I set out on an early morning jaunt. As with many of my best sessions, I wasn't 100% sure of the final distance when I took my first stride. I suppose the inspiration of an awesome, rain-swollen Willamette River drove me further than I imagined. In the end, I had logged nearly 20 miles at consistent, training pace -- http://www.endomondo.com/workouts/iYNpoI-6dVo
Pre's legend lives on in Eugene. And I'm honored to have taken a few steps on his trail.