Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Olympic Trials

As a competitor and athlete, there is no greater event than the world stage. The idea that every four years governments will lay down their arms to compete against each other for the honor and pursuit of human achievement, glory, and victory. The Olympic Games are magical.

As a distance runner, the simplest activity is taken to great heights. Who can run faster? The question is simple, but each athlete brings on their own answers.

On Monday, I was fortunate enough to visity Eugene, Oregon - Track Town, USA for the 4th day of the Olympic Trials in Track and Field. This is holy ground for distance runners. It is the home of Bill Bowerman, Nike, and Prefontaine. On the Hayward Field track, running and racing helped shape the sport into what it is today.

My friend Ben and I drove down early for a run on the local trails and spent the day around Eugene. We ran to Pre's Rock, jogged through Hendrick's Park, and ran along the Amazon Parkway trails. Everywhere there were distance runners. We are part of a tribe, and it was never more apparent.

The races were fantastic. Women's steeplechase prelims, Men's and Women's 800m finals, and the long and glorious 5,ooo meters all played out before us on the world stage. Nick Symmonds move and win in the 800m was the greatest race I have ever watched. Hayward Field exploded with the energy of human effort, impossible dreams, and inspiration.

Finally, I got a chance to meet a few of the distance greats. I shook Kenny Moore's hand and thanked him for all he'd done! If you haven't read his book, Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, get to it!

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