TrackTown, USA: Feels like Day 8. So much activity! I stopped exercising after our first day in Eugene and have covered well over 10,000 steps every day on my Fitbit. My meniscus is not happy, but I am. During a bit of a lull in the morning session, I took a break in the shady concourse to take a few photos of "behind the scenes" at the stadium.
Between Historic Hayward Field and the student fitness center (first-class equipment and pool), is a large soccer field with artificial turf. During the Championships, this area is used for medical, physical therapy and massage tents. Every country gets a tent.
On the south end of Historic Hayward Field is a warm-up track, more tents and another soccer field. Lots of men warming up for the 10000m... because what you need to do before running six miles is to run a few miles?
Notice all the white trailers on the left of this photo? This area houses television studio equipment from various networks/countries. Hundreds of journalists, video crews, and photographers from around the world are covering the Championships for global broadcast.
Now back to our regularly scheduled program: the men's 10000m final:
This photo is at the conclusion of the first lap. The runners are all bunched-up, as is usual on the first lap. However, during the entire race, the men remained in a very tight pack, dropping very few stragglers. DT called it a train. Fascinating stuff to athletics fans, but maddeningly dangerous. I was too anxious, worrying someone (or many of them) were going to go down. In the end, the pack ran the second 5000m faster than their first 5000m, with Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei winning in 27:27.43 - his season's best.
After the conclusion of the morning session, we went back to the RV park, picking up a pizza and salad on the way. Dave's college roommates, Terry and Bruce, joined us for lunch in the fancy new covered pavilion lake-side in the resort... then it was back to Historic Hayward Field for the evening session. Tonight's finals were women's pole vault, men's shot put, men's 110m hurdle final and women's 100m final. That's way too much excitement for me. American women took the gold and silver in the pole vault. American men won gold, silver and bronze in the shot put. It was a Jamaican sweep in the women's 100.
I can't even type this without crying. The men's 110m final was awful. All kinds of awful. During the warm-up, just before the start, Jamaican Hansle Parchment (possibly favored to win) pulled-up, grabbed his hamstring and limped-off the track and stretched-out on the cool grass next to the long jump runway. The fans were whispering amongst themselves. A group of about 40 Jamaican fans seated in front of us were in stunned silence. Waiting. Finally a medical professional came out to Parchment and began stretching his leg. After a few moments, he stood... only to collapse again onto the lawn. Ugh.
Several minutes after the scheduled start-time, the racers were called to their marks. Oregon alum, Devon Allen, was in lane 3, next to Parchment's empty spot. The gun went off, then a second shot, implying there was a false start. Reported to be lane 2, Polish hurdler, Damian Czykier. Oh no. Then there was a delay. Officials hovering and the official announcement. Devon Allen was disqualified with a false start. No second chances. One and done. The crowd screamed in protest. Allen is not only adored in Eugene, he is the world leader in the event. Everyone wanted to see him race Parchment. Parchment out of the race, everyone wanted to see Devon Allen with a gold medal around his neck. Allen protested, even after viewing the replay. When the replay was shown on the stadium video board, the fans booed even louder. No matter, Mr. Allen was escorted off the track. He lost his father a few weeks ago. How much can one man handle? At least he has his back-up job as a receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles?
At the conclusion of the competitions, they held many medal ceremonies and we heard the Star Spangled Banner so many times, it was getting embarrassing. Another day of The One True Sport. Beautiful and Brutal. Until my next update, I remain, your so very sad correspondent.
RV Park: Premier RV Resort - I-5, exit 199, just north of Eugene. We have stayed here countless times. 15 minutes to University of Oregon campus. Full-service paved pull-through and front-in sites. Bathhouses, laundry, pool in season, dog parks, dog wash, self-service car wash area, new (really nice) pavilion with kitchen facilities. There are a lot of live-ins. Store with a few food items and ice. Many weekend activities. We are paying about $49 per night on a weekly rate.