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2009 Prefontaine Classic

Historic Hayward Field hosted the premier track & field event in the US today - the 35th annual Prefontaine Classic. Named after legendary University of Oregon distance star, Steve Prefontaine, who died in a car accident in 1975, "The Pre" is open to only the world's best competitors. The meet is televised live for two hours on NBC. Events flow quickly - and concurrently - so there isn't even time for a trip to the concession. A virtual three-ring track and field circus. Heaven.

We drove down for the day with Mary and Steve and really enjoyed this action-packed track meet!

Bershawn Jackson (bib 80) is introduced before before his 400m hurdle race

Bershawn Jackson won the 400m hurdle race in 48.37,
but the cameraman was only interested in his cool NIKEs.

Bershawn Jackson (photo by mjb)

The Prefontaine Classic always presents unusual events. Today they ran a men's 300m (LaShawn Merritt 31.30, in the 2nd fastest 300m ever) and 3000m (Bernard Lagat 7:35.92), and a women's 2000m (Vivian Cheruyiot 5:31.52). Fun!

Meet highlights include Jenny Barringer (University of Colorado) running 3:59.90 to become only the 4th American woman to ever break the 4-minute barrier in the 1500m, and shattering the NCAA record.

Dwight Phillips long-jumped an amazing 28'-8.25" - the longest jump by an American in fifteen years.

Dwight Phillips - and the women long-jumpers - waits for jump results to be posted on the scoreboard

Phillips is a very happy man - but I love the athlete in pink jumping in the air.
His distance (shown here in meters) was outstanding!!!

Christian Smith before the 800m

And... they're off!

Christian Smith (bib 19) races for the finish. He would finish third in 1:46 (photo by mjb)

Nick Symmonds (in green) wins the 800m (again)

The final event at The Pre is always the Bowerman Mile. The field was stacked, loaded with most of the top milers/1500m runners in the world. A blistering pace too. Fourteen men - from Kenya, Canada, Bahrain, Ethiopia, South Africa, Haiti and the United States - in the race and 13 of them ran sub-four-minutes. Smokin'.

Pre Classic Results
University of Oregon Athletes
Steve Prefontaine
Bill Bowerman
2009 World Championship in Berlin

Until my next update, I remain, your Hayward Field correspondent.