If you live anywhere near Eugene, you’ve probably heard about the track and field Olympic trials beginning there this week. Hopeful athletes and fans, eager volunteers and sports equipment companies have descended on the small city. These are the fourth Olympic trials at Hayward Field since 1972.
This high-profile event is but a small slice of the rich history of running in Oregon, the state that was home to legendary coach Bill Bowerman (and before him Bill Hayward) as well as running superstar Steve Prefontaine. Bowerman, who coached Prefontaine, was also a co-founder of Nike, an Oregon-based company now known worldwide for running shoes and other sports gear.
What is it about Oregon and running? Is the Beaver State particularly suited to the sport? Is there something about the individuality of running that makes it particularly popular?
- Ethan Lindsey: Reporter for OPB News
- Keith Richard: University of Oregon archivist emeritus
- Dean Karnazes: Athlete and author of Ultramarathon Man
- Geoff Hollister: Author of Out of Nowhere: The Inside Story of How Nike Marketed the Culture of Running