The University of Oregon's Hayward Field has been called the fastest track in the world, and likened to Carnegie Hall and Wrigley Field. Each turn holds history.
The classic racing destination will undergo renovations after this season and is expected to re-open in 2020, which means this is the perfect time to run back and take a look at the greatest moments in Hayward Field history, including a few American records and a Hollywood cameo.
Unsurprisingly, Hayward's been home to more than a few thrillingly entertaining races over the years. Here are some of the all-time greats:
Suzy Favor Hamilton vs. Gabriela Szabo, 2000
In the first Pre Classic of the new millenium, Suzy Favor Hamilton and Gabriela Szabo duked it out in the 1500 as two of the fastest women in the world. Favor Hamilton built up a sizable lead entering the final 200 meters, but Szabo made up space over the final handful of seconds and won essentially by a hair.
Steve Prefontaine, 1972
Prefontaine, the namesake for Hayward's annual Pre Classic, donned the yellow-and-green singlet in Eugene to try and qualify for Munich's Olympic games in 1972. Instead he wound up setting the American record for the 5K in a race that would provide some of Pre's most enduring images.
Alan Webb, 2001
A prodigy of the times, Webb didn't need to win this 2001 race to make Hayward history. Webb ran a perfect, calculated race and broke Jim Ryun's 36-year-old U.S. prep record in the mile, finishing at 3:53.43, then the fastest mile run by a high schooler on U.S. soil. Hicham El Guerrouj won the race in 3:49.92, which was the fastest mile ever run on U.S. soil. Webb's record stood for 17 years, until it was broken by Jacob Ingebrigtsten — at Hayward.
Galen Rupp, 2014
Rupp ran the final 800 meters of this 10K in a staggering sub-1:58 to break his previous American record in the event, finishing in 26:44.36, a record which still stands today.
Hayward is so famous, it's reached beyond real life and into the pantheon of fictional racing.
Animal House (1978)
As the New York Times' Mary Pilon noted in 2012, "In 1978’s film 'National Lampoon’s Animal House,' [...] A more modest version of the stadium can be seen in the background of the R.O.T.C. scene of the film, one of many venues in Eugene where the film was shot."
Hayward Field has hosted Olympic Trials six times: 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008, 2012 and 2016. Here are a few notable moments from the greatest track and field athletes in the country converging on Eugene:
This was the first trials with no preliminary events; athletes merely had to meet the qualification standard in their event. This was also the last time the Women's Olympic Trials were held separately from the Men's Olympic Trials.
Among other notable things, Houston McTear (which is a great name) qualified for Montreal in the 100M as a high school athlete.
At this point in the year, President Jimmy Carter had already announced the 1980 Summer Olympics boycott.
Pole vault legend Jennifer Stuczynski set the national record (4.92M) and qualified for her first Olympics.
Ashton Eaton set the world record in the decathlon with a score of 9,039, becoming just the second athlete ever to break the 9,000-point mark.