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Oregon Family Magazine

On Your Marks, Get Set, Go!

03/04/2024 ● By Sandy Kauten
From the Eugene Marathon’s Duck Dash for children as young as 2 years old to the thrill of Oregon Track Club’s All Comers Meets held at Hayward Field at the University of Oregon, growing up in Eugene and Springfield means getting to grow up in the middle of TrackTown USA.

Miles of chip trails, historical track monuments and murals, and specialized running camps, clubs and events can lead to a life-long love of sport. This spring the continued stream of awe-inspiring running events continues, revving up in April with the Oregon Relays and culminating in the 2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials - Track & Field in June.

Here are a few ways kids can get involved in track and field:

  • Sign up for a free 2024 TrackTown Kids Club membership (up to 8th grade) which includes a kids club t-shirt, monthly newsletter, opportunities to interact with track and field athletes, and free admission to TrackTown USA-hosted events while supplies last. 
  • Visit Hayward Hall, the University of Oregon’s museum tribute to the school’s award-winning track and field athletes. This interactive historical showcase is full of trophies, photos, mementos and creative displays celebrating Oregon’s track wins. There is even a replica of Bill Bowerman’s workshop (the inventor of the first waffle sole shoes leading to Nike), a movie theater and selfie station!
  •  Take a self-guided tour of the Oregon22 Heritage Trail commemorating Oregon track and field athletes who have medaled in international competitions. Ten of those plaques are in Eugene-Springfield, posted at locations significant to the athlete. Also visit the Fast Forest at Dorris Ranch in Springfield where hundreds of trees have been planted in honor of every American male athlete breaking the 4-minute mile and female athlete breaking the 4:30 mile barrier.
  •  Enroll in an inspirational summer camp for young runners. Mestler Athletics Summer Track and Field Camp is coached by current and former University of Oregon and other track athletes for kids ages 10 to 14 years old. Held at the Sheldon High School track, this week-long day camp is offered multiple times throughout the summer. Youth Runner Camps offer a Eugene day camp for ages 11 to 18 years that showcases the local running heritage with visits to Pre’s Rock and runs on Pre’s trail along with skill building and wellness and motivational talks from accomplished runners. They also host an overnight camp in McKenzie River focused on trail running. A Duck Track Camp is also hosted by Oregon Track & Field at the University of Oregon.
  •  Sign the kids up to participate in the Oregon Track Club’s All Comers Meets during the summer. A long-standing Eugene tradition, separate meets are held for children 12 and under and 13 and up.
  • Children ages 9 to 14 can join the Oregon Track Club’s Youth Cross Country Program. Starting in September, the club meets regularly for training designed to inspire young runners, with a focus on having fun.
  • Visit one of our local running stores for custom running shoe fitting. Run Hub Northwest offers a complimentary foot scan and gait analysis. The Eugene Running Company also provides fittings by experienced athletes.

  • Finally, take them to cheer on athletes from high school to elite at this year’s slate of events at Hayward Field:

o   Oregon Relays, April 19-20

o   Eugene Marathon, April 26-28

o    Hayward Classic, May 5

o    OSAA Track & Field State Championships, May 16 - 18

o   Prefontaine Classic, May 25

o   NCAA D1 Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track & Field Championships, June 5 - 8

o   NSAF Nike Outdoor Nationals, June 12 -15

o    2024 U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field, June 30

And right on the heels of the Olympic Team Trials, the 50th annual Butte to Butte on July 4 reminds us that in TrackTown USA, it is not just about the professional athletes — runners and walkers of all abilities, and entire families with strollers and children, turn out to enjoy and celebrate our community. For more running events, visit