Inside Track


Alexi Pappas: Gaining perspective at MacLaren marathon

For many runners, from professionals to enthusiasts, our sport becomes something to complain about. We moan about the weather, crowded trails, old shoes, aching muscles, past injuries – it’s easy for us to focus on the negatives rather than relish in the positives. It’s only natural. After all, running is a sport that attracts perfectionists – we are always striving to improve ourselves – and it’s our instinct to focus on what we want to change and improve. It’s easy to blame external circumstances for poor performances or bad workouts, but the truth is, for most of us, the only …

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TrackTown Tuesday Season Finale Looks Toward the Future

The last TrackTown Tuesday of 2019, held at the Downtown Athletic Club on June 4, looked toward the future of track and field in the community.

OTC Elite’s Sally Kipyego headlined the event, showcasing her vivacious personality to the crowd. Kipeygo, a prolific distance runner with a 2012 Olympic silver medal in the 10,000m to her name, has since made the transition to the marathon. That journey has brought both triumphs and challenges. One of those successes was a runner-up finish at the 2016 New York Marathon.

“I remember crossing the finish line in New York and coming in second …

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OTC Elite veterans highlight TrackTown Tuesday

Long-time teammates and Oregon Track Club Elite stars Ben Blankenship and Hassan Mead headlined TrackTown Tuesday at the Downtown Athletic Club on May 7.

The duo shared stories and laughs with the crowd. They discussed their recent successes as well as detailing how they have grown throughout their professional careers.

Since joining OTC Elite in 2012, Blankenship is still evolving as a runner. He pointed to his victory at the 2018 USATF National Club Cross Country Championships as an example of this evolution.

“I just wanted to go out there and enjoy running,” said Blankenship. “Every day we step out …

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TrackTown Fitness concludes most successful season

EUGENE, Ore. – The final TrackTown Fitness session of 2019 was held along Pre’s Trail on Easter Sunday morning.

Now in its fifth year, the free community program had its most successful season ever with a total attendance of 1,707 over 13 weeks for an average of about 130 runners and walkers each session.

With Hayward Field currently under construction, TrackTown Fitness utilized three different venues this year: Autzen Stadium, the Moshofsky Center, and Pre’s Trail. In addition, PeaceHealth enhanced the program with its weekly “Run with the Doc” initiative in which runners and walkers were encouraged to chat about a …

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Alexi Pappas: Be a good teammate to yourself

With the track and field championship season coming up, hand-in-hand with final exams for high school and college athletes, it’s important to remember to be as kind to ourselves as we are hard on ourselves.

High school and college are hard enough. Studying for finals, competing in championships, memorizing your lines for the school play – all of these tasks are “hard enough” on their own. We’ve all heard the advice about how to best tackle multiple goals: make a to-do list, stay organized, plan ahead, and so on. But what I’m here to tell you is to remember to …

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Bowerman Track Club Stars Headline TrackTown Tuesday

The April 2 edition of TrackTown Tuesday featured Olympians, UO student-athletes, and hometown entrepreneurs in front of a near-capacity crowd at the Downtown Athletic Club.

Bowerman Track Club teammates Shelby Houlihan and Colleen Quigley anchored the show, sharing stories not only of their accomplishments but also of their connection as teammates. Houlihan described the competitiveness of being a professional athlete on the BTC squad.

“The team sets a high level of expectation,” said Houlihan. “We had 7 of 8 women on the Olympic team. I was the one who raced last. I saw all my teammates line up and make …

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Alexi Pappas: On the benefits of racing below peak fitness

After racing the 2018 Chicago Marathon, I was proud that I had made major strides since my injury a year earlier, but I also knew that I had a ways to go before I would be ready to qualify for Tokyo 2020.

Building up my fitness meant toeing the line at races I knew I wouldn’t win. I don’t like losing, but racing is a very motivational training tool for me, so skipping out on races until I was “fit enough” wasn’t an option. So after Chicago, my coach and I signed me up for a track race in early …

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Coach Cristobal headlines star-studded TrackTown Tuesday

An impressive lineup of Oregon-based talent headlined TrackTown Tuesday in front of a crowd of 150 at the Downtown Athletic Club on March 5.

Oregon head football coach Mario Cristobal started the night by reminiscing on the lessons he learned from his time as an athlete at the University of Miami and as an assistant working under Alabama coach Nick Saban. He also walked the crowd through how his staff built one of the best recruiting classes in the country.

“The number one thing is: it’s Oregon. It sells itself,” Cristobal said. “People ask what do you do that’s different? …

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Family dynamic on display at TrackTown Fitness

EUGENE, Ore. – As 2019 rolls on, TrackTown Fitness continues to bring together runners and walkers of all backgrounds on Sunday mornings.

One family, in particular, illustrates the pervasive sense of community that has become the program’s defining characteristic. On Feb. 3, Jim Johnson and his son, Eric, worked to follow the quick pace of Eric’s young son, Holbrook.

“This is me and my wife’s third year of coming here,” Jim Johnson said. “We try to maintain a good base of fitness. She is a master’s track runner, so this fits in really well.”

Jim Johnson’s wife, Mary, was a UO …

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Alexi Pappas: Good idea to embrace invisible tradeoffs

A family member passed away recently and I needed to fly to the east coast with two days notice for the funeral. This is tough news for anybody, but for an athlete, traveling is doubly challenging: when your job is your body, intensive travel takes on a whole new level of costs. I needed to get from remote Mammoth Lakes in California to the east coast, which is not easy in the middle of winter.

For an athlete, traveling doesn’t just mean you’re sleepy the next day, it can potentially throw your entire training cycle off balance, and possibly even …

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TrackTown Tuesday Features Oregon Student-Athletes, OTC Elite and Eugene Civic Alliance

Athletes and advocates alike took the stage at the first TrackTown Tuesday of 2019 in front of a crowd of 150 at the Downtown Athletic Club on Feb. 5.

The night started with a touching tribute to Barbara Kousky, who passed away last December. Kousky was an important figure in the Oregon Track Club and had a long and distinguished career in track and field management.

UO senior and 2018 NCAA outdoor 1,500-meter champion Jessica Hull was joined by her Duck teammate Jonathan Harvey, a hurdler and member of the men’s 4x400m relay. Harvey, a California native, explained his journey …

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TrackTown Fitness kicks off 2019 at Autzen Stadium

EUGENE, Ore. – The 2019 TrackTown Fitness program started its 13-week journey on a foggy morning at Autzen Stadium last Sunday. An estimated 200 runners and walkers came prepared and eager to set their fitness goals for the year.

Andy Trouard, one of three OTC Elite athletes in attendance, was impressed by the big turnout for the first meeting.

“You don’t get the title ‘TrackTown USA’ for no reason,” Trouard said.

With Hayward Field under construction, TrackTown Fitness is now held at Autzen Stadium. The route along the concourse and perimeter of the stadium stretches 700 meters. The trees mixed …

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UO heads to Razorback Invitational; OTC Elite eyes Seattle

EUGENE, Ore. – After a solid start to the indoor track and field season at the UW Preview, the Ducks are looking ahead to the Razorback Invitational on Friday and Saturday, in Fayetteville, Ark. Oregon head coach Robert Johnson is bringing a full team to Arkansas for their second meet of the year.

“It’s a step up in competition for us,” Johnson said. “We’re taking a full contingent…all of our cards and everyone we have will be competing.”

Johnson discussed the shortness of the indoor season and what it means for the Ducks to improve every meet.

“Season starts in …

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Alexi Pappas: On the Importance of Dynamic Movement

I never knew quite how important dynamic movement was to my health as a runner until after my first major injury when I had to regain all my fitness from scratch. For me, “dynamic movement” refers to exercises that force my body to move and gain strength in non-running ways – specifically, side-to-side and up-and-down movements that don’t strengthen naturally with running alone. While dynamic movement doesn’t directly make you a faster runner, high dynamic strength can be a helpful factor on an uneven cross country course or in a rough track race, and most importantly, having a dynamically strong …

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