Beyond Pre: What to Know About Running in Oregon

As some of the world’s best runners converge in Portland for the Indoor Track & Field Championships, we take a look at a sport besieged by scandal.

By Katie Vaughan March 1, 2016 Published in the March 2016 issue of Portland Monthly

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WHAT: A four-day meet with more than 600 athletes competing in everything from pole vault to hurdles to the heptathlon

WHO: The International Association of Athletics Federations is the global governing authority for track and field sport.

WHERE: The Moda Center (March 17) and Oregon Convention Center (March 18–20), the first time in almost 30 years the meet will be in the US

WHY: You can see Portland native Ashton Eaton, who holds the current world record in the decathlon.


August 2, 2015: A whistleblower leaks IAAF blood test data, showing more than a third of competition medals awarded between 2001 and 2012 went to athletes (from 94 countries) with suspicious test results.

November 4: Former IAAF president Lamine Diack arrested on charges of corruption and money laundering, including allegedly taking €1 million in bribes from Russia to cover up said test results.

November 26: Russia banned from competition due to the doping cover-up and bribery.

December 11: More IAAF officials step down pending investigation of corruption.

January 14, 2016: The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) releases a scathing report on the IAAF, questioning current leadership and noting “corruption was embedded in the organization.” 


“I think it can only decrease the amount of trust that the public have in what they see in front of them. Once that goes, it is hard to see the sport ever recovering. They have a long way to travel. The IAAF have arguably done as much damage as those at FIFA [have for soccer]. The decision on whether to let Russia compete in the Olympics will also be a defining one. The scale of state-sponsored doping in Russia is a jaw-dropping reminder of how easy it is for the cheats to stay one step ahead, particularly when facilitated by a country determined to use sport as an instrument of soft power. But Russia is far from alone—this is simply the most organized example of a wider culture.”
—Owen Gibson, chief sports correspondent for the Guardian


Bill Hayward

UO track and field coach from 1904 to 1947. Coached 9 Olympians and 4 world record holders. This July, Eugene hosts the
US Olympic trials at the field named for him.

Bill Bowerman

Coached Steve Prefontaine and ‘72 US Olympic team. Nike cofounder. Credited with starting America’s jogging craze.

Steve Prefontaine

Running legend from Coos Bay. Died tragically at age 24.

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Image: The Oregonian

Susan Henderson

First woman to win Portland Marathon, in 1972, the same year as the passage of Title IX.

Ashton Eaton

World champion decathlete. Olympic gold medalist and world record holder. Born in Portland.


0316 pre awards iaosqd

A showdown between actors Billy Crudup and Jared Leto, who both have portrayed legendary Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine

Most Dedication to the Role

Both actors trained extensively for the running shots, but Leto made Prefontaine’s sister cry when she saw him in character.

“But Is It Local?” Tiebreaker

Crudup and Without Limits take home the medal for filming actual locations like Hayward Field and Coos Bay. Prefontaine was filmed mostly in Washington state.

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