Running Eugene Marathon, minus 1

Its Saturday afternoon and Im watching the rain come down. And stop. And start again.

But the weather forecast for tomorrow only calls for showers (today it was rain) and Im hoping theyre later rather than earlier. Please, Mother Nature, get (most) of it out of your system today.

I did a slow, half-hour run this morning just to stay limber and saw many other runners out and about. This is clearly a runner’s town as it most certainly should be considering its storied history.

I drove the portion of the course (the first 9 miles) that is drivable. The remainder is mostly on trails and bikepaths along the Willamette River that ought to be pretty flat. What I learned is that there are a few hills along the way, including an incline right at the start along East 15th Avenue.

The race starts at Agate and East 15th on the University of Oregon campus, next to historic Hayward Field.

IMG_3342.JPGTomorrow morning at 7:00 a.m. this is where the marathon and half-marathon get underway. The finish line is in almost the same location.

I took a short side-trip to view Pres Rock. Steve Prefontaine, a distance running phenomenon, is an iconic figure among American runners. He died on 30 May 1975 in single-car accident in Eugene, the site of which is marked with this monument.


Pre’s Rock is a kind of shrine decorated with old race bibs and other running detritus. (One person left a note asking for him to watch over runner number such-and-such hoping for a sub-4 hour finish in tomorrow’s race.)


Its a quiet, attractive residential area on a wooded hill close to the University of Oregon. Its difficult to imagine that this pleasant spot is where one of Americas legendary runners met his end.


For some reason I tend to associate Steve Prefontaine and Kurt Cobain with each other even though Cobain was 8 years old when Prefontaine died. Maybe its because they share being from the Pacific Northwest, came from hardscrabble, coastal, working class towns (Prefontaine from Coos Bay, Ore.; Cobain from Aberdeen, Wash.), both had a charismatic edginess, and both died young.

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