TrackTown Tuesday Season Debut - Feb 25

2/21/2014 12:00 AM


By Curtis Anderson / TrackTown USA


EUGENE, Ore. – Nearly seven years ago, I attended the first “Tuesdays in TrackTown” town hall meeting.


It was held in the lobby of the Bowerman Building on the northwest corner of Hayward Field on March 6, 2007.


A crowd of about 30 people from all walks of life showed up to learn about a variety of track and field topics, in particular, the growing buzz surrounding ambitious plans for the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Trials.


Vin Lananna, in his second season as UO director of track and field, was the host of the event.


He gave a brief, but enthusiastic presentation on the Trials and the planned improvements to Hayward Field. He spoke about the burgeoning professional training group known as Oregon Track Club Elite, and the upcoming outdoor season for the Ducks.


At the end of the meeting, there was a question-and-answer session with Lananna.


Even though it was a low-key affair, with free cookies and coffee, it struck me as uniquely Eugene, reminiscent of the way former UO track and field coach Bill Bowerman engaged the local community with the formation of youth all-comer’s meets and ground-breaking jogging classes in the 1950s and ‘60s.


“The impetus behind these meetings was to provide a forum to talk with our long supportive fans about what’s happening with track and field in our community,” Lananna said. “They have become more popular than we could ever imagine and I look forward to another season of great events.”


Today, the “TrackTown Tuesday” meetings routinely attract more than 200 people at each session. They have evolved into a highly anticipated community event each month with a master of ceremonies, exclusive videos, compelling special guests from the UO and OTC Elite, and ticket giveaways.


Last May, spurred by the addition of a fun run, more than 500 people showed up for the “TrackTown Tuesday” event held outside the Nike store at Oakway Center Mall.


This year, in what promises to be the greatest single season of track and field ever staged at Hayward Field – anchored by the NCAA Championships and IAAF World Junior Championships – the first “TrackTown Tuesday” event will be held Feb. 25 at the Downtown Athletic Club.


The free one-hour show begins at 7 p.m.


Doors open to the public at 6 p.m. Appetizers will be available for $3, and another $3 will get you a pint of beer poured by Hop Valley Brewing Co.


Free parking is available in the adjacent Overpark. No validation is required after 5 p.m.


Those in attendance will be eligible for a random prize drawing for two reserved tickets to the opening ceremonies and first day of competition at the IAAF World Junior Championships on July 22.


The “TrackTown Tuesday” presentation is more ambitious than ever this year.


Lananna, once again, will serve as the host of the festivities, while former UO three-sport star Jordan Kent takes over as master of ceremonies.


The season-opening theme is the “State of track and field in Oregon.”


The scheduled guests are UO distance runners Parker Stinson and Molly Grabill, and Oregon Track Club Elite athletes Julia Lucas (1,500, 5,000) and newcomer Greta Feldman (800, 1,500).


In addition, UO assistant coaches Andy Powell and Maurica Powell will be on hand to speak and answer questions.


The rest of the “TrackTown Tuesday” schedule is as follows: March 18, April 8 and May 6 at the Downtown Athletic Club. Outdoor meetings will be held June 3 and July 15 at sites to be determined.