Friday, June 1, 2012

The Pre Classic

Eugene, Oregon.  Home of TrackTown, USA.  This weekend is the Prefontaine Classic, one of the premiere track & field events not only in America but in the world.  Hayward Field is a legendary facility made extremely popular by former Oregon Head Coach Bill Bowerman and stud/phenom Steve Prefontaine.  It's been sponsored by Nike since 1978 because, well, duh.

Originally started as the Hayward Field Restoration Race, in 1975 the name was changed to the Prefontaine Classic after legendary University of Oregon distance runner and Olympian Steve Prefontaine was killed in a car accident a week prior to the meet.  At 24 years young, we lost one of the greatest distance runners in our history before he even got to his prime.

Pre pictured here at Hayward with one of his many famous running quotes.
NBC will be carrying live coverage of the event Saturday afternoon from 3 to 4:30pm EST.  This will include the men's 110 hurdles, men's 800m, women's 200m and 400m, and the men's 5K, 200m, and what we call the "Bowerman  Mile" to cap off the meet. 

Here's a link to the entries for the events.  Here are some Americans to keep your eye on in the different televised events:

Men's 5K - Galen Rupp and Matt Tegankamp
Men's 800M - Nick Symmonds and Khadevis Robinson
Men's 110H - Pretty much every American! This field is loaded, not even the Olympics will have this kind of depth
Men's Mile - Bernard Lagat, Andrew Wheating

Women's 400M - Sanya Richards-Ross and DeeDee Trotter
Women's 200M - Allyson Felix and Carmelita Jeter

Meanwhile, I'm sure they'll show replays of the 100m for and 400m for the men.  The 100M will feature Walter Dix and Justin Gatlin.  The 400M will feature Leshawn Merritt and Jeremy Wariner.  Also keep your eye on South African Oscar Pitorius, the amputee who is looking to become the first to qualify for the Olympics as an athlete with a disability (double leg amputee).  

And just for fun, the International Mile will be held tonight and will feature overrated and overaged Alan Webb and my boy Jeff See (Middletown High School and OSU product) whom I competed against several times in high school.  He made me look incredibly slow!

With the Olympic Trials coming up at the end of the month here at Hayward Field, this is a great opportunity for our best US athletes to get used to the facility, atmosphere, weather, and competition.  If you have never watched track before, check it out, it's pretty cool!