Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Catching up with folks at the Nike Prefontaine Classic...

After the end of the NCAA track & field championships (at noon, no less!), it was time to bail out of Sacramento and make the trip to Eugene for the Nike Prefontaine Classic at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon.

The only question I had was how I was getting to Eugene: Fly to Seattle as originally ticketed, then drive? See if I can get my ticket changed to fly into Eugene? Or, see if I can fly to Portland, rent a car, then drive back to Portland, then fly home?

Option C ended up being the winner, as Alaska/Horizon allowed me to change my ticket at no cost!

I got on the 1:45 pm flight (delayed until 2:15 pm--yes!), after showing up at the Sacramento airport at 1:30, thanks to Randy from trackandfieldphoto.com, who gave me a ride to the airport, and was nice enough to let me put my non-essential bag in his van, as he was driving to Eugene for the Pre! I walked onto the plane with just my laptop, research materials, toiletries, and a change of clothes!

Among the folks on the plane were agents Ray Flynn & Mark Block, along with Reebok track & field promotions director Todd Klein.

Grabbed a rental car at the Portland Hertz counter, then made the drive to Eugene, and made it just in time to catch the "B" section of the Pre meet that OTC coach Frank Gagliano organized to get some last minute qualifiers into the AT&T USA Outdoor Championships in Indianapolis.

The fast section of the men's 1500 was exciting, as Will Leer (right) held off former UW Husky Jordan McNamara in a photo finish, with each running 3:41.13, and qualifying for nationals.

Afterwards, had dinner with fellow track TV types Fred Baer & Brian Russell at the Oregon Electric Company, where we could hear in an adjacent part of the restaurant, the athletes' agents having their meeting, and discussing lane assignments.

Had to get to bed early, as I had to be at Hayward Field at 6am, as I was the font coordinator for the world feed of the Prefontaine Classic that was aired on Eurosport and Swedish TV.

The show was uneventful, but always a bit stressful, as is the case in live television, when you're working in the control truck!

After the meet, it was great to see old friends like Geoff Hollister from Nike, whom I've known for over 30 years; Gary Dobbs, who is on the Prefontaine Memorial 10k run committee, and a Seattle resident; and Cack Ferrell, who traveled with me to Mombasa as part of Team USA at the World Cross Country Championships!

I got home to Seattle at 9pm that night, tired, but happy that I made it through four days of track & field at the NCAAs and the Pre!

Now I get to do this over again in a few days...I'm leaving Wednesday night for Indianapolis and the AT&T USA Track & Field Championships!

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