Oregon

For some odd reason the Oregon marathon (I have run 5) that I remember the best is the 2nd one I had in Eugene just because I was interviewed by some running internet website and the question they asked me is if the history and ghosts of runners helped me run better?

Rewind. Okay, so it was my third marathon ever. It was actually not something I was dreading at this point. My second marathon in Eugene had not killed me or hurt me too badly the year before so I figured I could live through this (Hole reference). I was looking forward to the expo because the one the year before had lots of swag you could swipe and it was going to be the first time I would meet Jared (of Subway fame, yes) as well. The expo went fine and I got all my free stuff but at the end there was a roving camera and a couple running yahoos behind it. They wanted to talk to someone about marathoning and of course they wanted to talk to my lovely friend Katherine, but she had never even run a full marathon so she deferred to me.

She bragged my time up saying I could run a marathon in under four hours and walked away to text someone or something and left me with these two running geeks. They asked my name and general information and then a couple how fast are you, how many marathons have you run and have you run here before? Then came the question – “Does running here in Eugene with all the tradition and ghosts of runners motivate you to do even better?” (this is not a direct quote but it was along these lines. You can ask me many questions but there are few that will cause me to stop and think like this one did.

I was aware of Eugene running history. You can’t live in Oregon and not be aware of it. Nike pretty much started in Eugene as Phil Knight went to college in Eugene and became good friends with the track coach Bill Bowerman. They formed Nike based on some ideas they had together, formed a company based out of Beaverton, Oregon and the rest is history. This is only a small part of Eugene though as perhaps the most famous runner of all time, Steve Prefontaine, born and bred in Oregon running. Perhaps the greatest distance runner of all time who died at the young age of 24. Sometimes (esp in Oregon) you will see a runner nickname themselves “Pre” – that is who they are referring to.

So I knew about the “ghosts” of Eugene. Also named Track Town USA in some circles, Eugene was having its second marathon just as the sport was exploding and this team of two was here to capitalize. I have not a clue what I really said but I think it was something along the lines of “yeah, sure. That sounds like the ticket!” and I let it go. They gave me a card and told me to check the website after to see if I made the cut. I never did. I am pretty positive they found a couple better interviews than me.

And now yes, Jared.

Jared from Subway made the trip to Eugene to be the official guest – there is some official title he had forgotten by myself – and he was going to shoot the gun and do all that stuff that makes someone feel extra special at one of these events I suppose without actually running. The first thing I will never forget Jared saying is how he would never run a half marathon much less the full thing. Imagine my surprise when I saw the announcement he would run the full marathon in New York this year. Publicity stunt!

The other thing is not how he is just like you or I (even though he really is) but the fact the guy does have a sense of humor. I suppose you would too if your entire life was based on the fact you were a complete fatbody and could turn it all around and become famous for it. I know everyone is in love with The Biggest Loser and all that but why don’t we ever celebrate those who never gained the weight in the first place? Don’t we have even more self control? I digress. But if you ever want to hear perverted Jared tales? You need go much farther than him. He likes his jokes a little raunchy. Let’s just say I have now heard my share about jokes about an old man runner and his scrotum. He does like to drink and is more than happy to pay for a couple rounds and when you go out – I assure you he no longer sticks to just Subway.

Oregon was one of the few marathons where I chose to eat the pre-race meal and for good reason. I am sure there are plenty of marathoners that love these spaghetti extraganzas where they offer all you can eat from so local restaurant. This pretty much is how I interpret them – lukewarm food that is usually not all that tasty due to traveling across town. Don’t get me wrong – if it is free I am there! However there is a reason why these buffets can be free.

The Eugene marathon is a good one should you ever wish to attend – not hilly and it goes along the river that runs through the town. There is some running on trails and lots of parks action. You do see some cool parts of the city and the run ends and begins near historic Hayward Field – track of the University of Oregon. The running crowd is a little faster than your usual crowd so your “A” game is a must. Also there are plenty of cheap and close hotels making it one of the cheaper marathons for someone who wants all 50 states on the cheap!

All in all, a great run that will always go do to me as the time I was stumped by a question, surprised by a celebrity, and where all you can eat was half a serving. But after the run was done, I went back a year later to do it all again!

3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by seannorth01 on December 30, 2011 at 3:00 am

    Great article! I had a customer come in awhile ago with a shirt on that had a stop sign on it and under it said PRE. Being from Oregon, I knew the reference and commented on it. The guy seemed surprised that someone in Texas got the reference. Yeah, Eugene has a long history with running. Cool you got to do the run!

    Reply

  2. Posted by Kristi on December 30, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Haha! I remember watching you run this particular race! Well, Let’s be honest…. I saw you right before you hit the finish line! Leave it to Eugene to come up with the weird stuff!

    Reply

  3. You have a blog and you didn’t tell me? Just like the good old days 🙂 – Kimberly

    Reply

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