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.

Participants gather on Pre's Trail to cheer after the final TrackTown Fitness session of the season. Photo: Jessica Gabriel, TrackTown USA

Participants gather on Pre’s Trail to cheer after the final TrackTown Fitness session of the season. Photo: Jessica Gabriel, TrackTown USA

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 healthy, active lifestyle with participating doctors.

Dr. David Saenger, a PeaceHealth cardiologist, had this advice for those who wanted to develop a healthier lifestyle.

“Exercise should become a habit you have to do every day,” Dr. Saenger said. “I always tell people it is like brushing your teeth. You wouldn’t go a day without brushing your teeth, so you shouldn’t go a day without exercise.”

Dr. David Saenger, a PeaceHealth cardiologist, was on hand at the final TrackTown Fitness session of the season. Photo: Jessica Gabriel, TrackTown USA

Dr. David Saenger, a PeaceHealth cardiologist, was on hand at the final TrackTown Fitness session of the season. Photo: Jessica Gabriel, TrackTown USA

One person who embodies those habits is local marathon runner Kathy Ward. She served as a Run Hub pacer at the Eugene Marathon on April 28 for those targeting a 4:20 finish. Ward, who has completed six marathons, said she enjoys the relaxed running of pacing versus the grind of competing.

“When I finished Boston, that was my fifth marathon when I crossed the finish line, and I said ‘I’m never doing another marathon,’” Ward said. “But for pacing, I meet people from all around the country and they would be talking to me. It’s just so fun to meet people and find out where they are coming from.”

“I’ve become friends with all these kids because they are in their 20s and 30s and are asking me for advice,” she added. “We just talk the whole way. It’s been so much fun training.”

Kathy Ward, TrackTown Fitness participant, holds up her pacing sign during the Eugene Marathon. Photo: Eugene Marathon

Kathy Ward, a TrackTown Fitness participant, holds up her pacing sign during the Eugene Marathon. Photo: Eugene Marathon

Ward’s training, of course, has included TrackTown Fitness on Sunday mornings since moving to Eugene four years ago.

“Some of the people here have been here since the first time I came,” Ward said. “It’s been so fun and now we all go to TrackTown Tuesdays. The running community in this town is awesome.”

That running community was out in droves for the Eugene Marathon weekend, with packed races for the Duck Dash and 5k on Saturday, and the marathon and half-marathon on Sunday. Participants crossed the finish at the 50-yard line of Autzen Stadium, then enjoyed the post-race festival in the stadium concourse, the site for the majority of TrackTown Fitness sessions this season.

Although TrackTown Fitness has finished for the year, the next TrackTown Tuesday will be May 7 at the Downtown Athletic Club.