EUGENE, Ore. – So, exactly what is “Run TrackTown?”
It’s a celebration of running unlike any other, and it will happen at the intersection of two major sporting events in TrackTown USA next week – the IAAF World Junior Championships Oregon 2014 and the Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon.
The idea is to bridge the gap between people who run and people who are track and field fans. More people participate in running in the U.S. than any other sport, yet track and field remains somewhat of a niche sport.
In an effort to chip away at that disconnect, the Run TrackTown concept was developed to bring those two groups together. The hope is that the thousands of runners participating in the Eugene Marathon, Half Marathon, 5K and 1K will become track fans once they’re able to witness the passion and excitement of a meet at Hayward Field.
The Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon begin at 6 a.m. on Sunday, July 27, which is also the final day of competition for the IAAF World Junior Championships.
“We plan to connect the dots between little kids that run, top-end competitions like the IAAF World Junior Championships, and all the various events that happen leading into the Eugene Marathon,” said Vin Lananna, president of TrackTown USA. “It’s going to be a fantastic weekend.”
The six-day IAAF World Junior Championships, which showcases the world’s best track and field athletes under the age of 20, will be held July 22-27 at Hayward Field, the first time ever on U.S. soil.
On Friday, July 25, the Health and Fitness Expo begins its two-day run at Matthew Knight Arena.
Hours of operation are 1-6 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
There will be non-stop action at Hayward Field on Saturday. Here’s the schedule of events:
- The first race will be the 1K Duck Dash at 7:45 a.m. The Run TrackTown 5K follows at 8 a.m. Both races feature a 200-meter finish on the track in front of the West Grandstand at Hayward Field.
- The Oregon Track Club’s youth all-comers meet (ages 12-and-under) will be held from 9 a.m. to noon at Hayward Field.
- The IAAF World Junior Championships will showcase seven event finals during its session from 2:30 p.m. to 5:45 p.m. The action closes with the men’s and women’s 4×100-meter relays.
- A High Performance track and field meet begins at 5:50 p.m. with the women’s hammer throw, followed by men’s high jump, men’s triple jump, men’s 4x800m relay, women’s 100m, women’s 4x800m relay, men’s 1500m and men’s 110m high hurdles. Featured athletes include Aries Merritt, Christian Taylor, Laura Roesler, English Gardner and Jesse Williams and others.
- The day closes with the Youth League Championships under the lights from 7-10 p.m. The top three finishers in five events – 100m, 400m, 1,500m, long jump and turbojav – from seven statewide regional competitions advance to the special championship meet at Hayward Field. The Youth League is open to kids in grades three through eight.
- Sunday’s grand finale begins with the Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon at 6 a.m. Once again, participants will be able to finish on the home stretch of Hayward Field in front of family and friends. The final session of the IAAF World Junior Championships begins at 3 p.m. and ends with the closing ceremonies at 5:30 p.m.