I’ve been in Eugene, Oregon all this week for work. Besides being a liberal city known for arts and outdoors, as well as the University of Oregon, Eugene is also known as “Tracktown, USA”. Eugene’s historical prominence as the Track and Field capital of the world is highlighted by Steve Prefontaine, a world-class distance runner from Coos Bay, Oregon, attending and running track at the University of Oregon. He died in a car crash at the young age of 24.
It was only appropriate that during my time here in Eugene, I got myself outside and running a few times despite the busy work schedule. What I found was a relatively flat (read: much appreciated) series of roads and bikepaths surrounded by quiet housing communities and grassy meadows. Little known fact, Eugene is also regularly #1 or #2 in pollen count for the country, being downwind of Willamette Valley, the grass-seed capital of the world.
My runs were quick, only 3-5 miles at a time, and slow paced. I ran in the pouring rain (though I appreciated the fact that the air was still warm), and in the hot afternoon sun. I ran down a bikeway near downtown during lunch one day and saw numerous people out and about, walking their dogs, speed walking with friends, jogging with strollers. It reminded me of Berkeley.
I’m not sure what the point of this post was other than to tell you that a year ago, I was not a runner. I am still not a runner. Maybe I’ll never be one. But this trip to Eugene was highlighted with my appreciation for the activity in a way that didn’t exist a year ago, which means, I might be well on my way.