No other town on Earth can claim to have contributed as much to the sport of running as Eugene, Oregon. Much of it is owed to a single man.
When Oregon native Bill Bowerman came to coach the University of Oregon track and field team in 1948, few could have predicted the legacy he would leave for the town and for generations of athletes and fitness enthusiasts across the globe. By the time Bowerman retired from coaching in 1973, he’d led the University of Oregon to four NCAA team titles, had mentored legendary runners such as Otis Davis, Kenny Moore, Bill Dellinger and Steve Prefontaine, had coached the 1972 Olympic team and had co-founded a little company that would come to be known as Nike with his former pupil Phil Knight.
He also introduced the sport of jogging to America in 1962 after a visit to New Zealand and his friend and fellow coach Arthur Lydiard. His initial jogging club in Eugene served as a model for other fitness programs while the books and articles Bowerman wrote about the sport helped to spawn interest nationwide. His 1966 book Jogging, written with cardiologist W.E. Harris, sold over one million copies. By the 1970s and 80s, 25 million Americans were participating in some aspect of running.
That legacy continues today. When you’re running the Eugene Marathon, tip your running cap to Track Town USA and the Oregon legend who made it possible.