The Prefontaine Classic
Eugene, Oregon: We are in TrackTown to
experience the 40th Prefontaine Classic - the greatest professional track meet
in the United States (if not the world). The weather was absolutely perfect, the stands were full
and the meet was live on international television.
Our hotel had a "free" breakfast buffet It was most unappealing,
as most of the "free" breakfast served in the lobby of interstate
motels. We thought we were so smart to walk down the street to find a
coffee shop while waiting for Mary, Steve and Woody to join us. Turns
out, the same beige breakfast foods are served everywhere.
We were not disappointed in
the performances at the track meet.
Nearly every race was either an American Record, a meet record, a
personal best, a season's best, a Hayward Field record or the "best in
the world this year". Most races were a combination of stats noted
above. In full disclosure, 31 May is super-early in the season, so
achieving a "best in the world this year" isn't going to be a long-held
mark. Hopefully the same can be said for an athlete with a "season's
What is so amazing (to me): 2014 is an "off year". No Olympics. No World
Championships. Nothing. The athletes are only competing for hard cold
cash this year... and such impressive marks this early in the season are
nothing short of remarkable.
I love me some runners.
The International Mile: The Bowerman Mile field was so strong, Olympic
1500m Silver Medalist, American Leo Manzano (hand raised), wasn't even
qualified to make it into the Big Boy Mile.
Though the classic mile race has been commandeered by
the more common 1500m, every year at least one mile race is slated at
the Pre Classic. This year, the Pre Classic held two men's mile races -
the International Mile and the
Bowerman Mile. We joked the "International" mile was for the
losers not fast enough to make it into the Bowerman Mile, when, in
fact, nearly everyone in both races already had posted sub-4-minute
miles (the Holy Grail of mile times) and many competitors are world
champions, national record holders or Olympic finalists - and
way-too-many had medals hanging around their necks at one point or
another. Either way, the mile is just not raced very often any more, so
these races are super-popular in Eugene and the Bowerman Mile is always
the last race on the schedule.
Save the best for last.
The Bowerman Mile found the best milers in the world
lined up in a small town in the middle of nowhere in Oregon on the most
beloved track in the history of the sport. Many of the racers had yet to
experience running in front of the best track and field fans in America. The
rookies stood at the starting line, staring into the crowd - transfixed.
I could see it in their faces - they were trying to burn this
moment into their memory forever.
Just in case they are never able to return.
All 14 racers in the Bowerman Mile ran under four minutes. Six men ran
their fastest race ever. Four men (Djibouti, Ethiopia, South Africa and
Norway) now hold national records.
This is power of Historic Hayward Field.
2014 Prefontaine Classic race results.
The IAAF Diamond League
- where the Big Girls & Boys play.
Video of the
2014 Bowerman Mile.
Until my next update, I remain, your "Pre Lives" correspondent.
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