At about 7:00 tonight I set out on an hour run. The plan was to cover aproximatley eight miles, I would run through the Autzen Stadium parking lot, across the footbridge onto the U of O campus, down Agate St past Hayward field all the way to 22nd, 22nd to University, take University from 22nd past Mac Court, through campus, back across the footbridge, run a few laps around Autzen Stadium and then back home. As I passed Hayward Field my plans changed. The gate was wide open so I decided to run a few laps around the track. It was the first time that I had set foot on that track since my dissapointing eighth place finish in the 400 meters in the district meet when I was in eighth grade. As I was circling the track I began thinking about all the great names who have competed on this track and it occured to me that almost every American Track and Field great has competed on this track. I was on sacred ground.
Hayward field was built as a football stadium in 1919 and became the home University of Oregon Track and Field in 1921. Named for the legendary Track and Field coach Bill Hayward who coached Oregon track for 44 years until his death in 1947, it has hosted nine NCAA championship meets, six US chamiponship meets and three Olympic Trials (a fourth in 2008). It's also the birthplace of a little company known as Nike. It is the most storied track and field facility in the United States.
Hayward Field is to Track and Field what Fenway Park, Yankee Stadium and Wrigley Field are to Baseball. The difference is that I can't walk into one of those stadiums and take batting practice but I can walk into Hayward Field and run a few laps around the track.
information from the Official University of Oregon Athletic site was used for the completion of this blog