Race preview: 36th Prefontaine Memorial Run, September 19th, 2015, Coos Bay, OR

There are a handful of classic races that every Oregon runner should do at least once, and the annual Prefontaine Memorial Run in Steve Prefontaine's hometown of Coos Bay is near the top of the list. Saturday, September 19th marks the 36th annual Prefontaine Memorial Run, a hilly 10k along one of Pre's favorite high school training routes. The out-and-back course through town finishes on the Marshfield High School track that now bears his name.

The race draws a very competitive field and boasts some fast finishing times, but also welcomes runners of all paces. Like the Pear Blossom Run in Medford, this is one of those historic races that the host city takes a lot of pride in. You can count on a well-organized event with a well-designed and highly coveted shirt. Results and age-group records are maintained with care through the years.

For several years “The Pre” has included team competitions for high school and college runners, with a separate 5k high school race. The top three boy’s and girl’s high school teams in the 5k, and the top three men’s and women’s college teams in the 10k receive trophies.

The high school competition along with the popularity of Steve Prefontaine’s legacy has brought out some of the top young runners in Oregon and beyond, several of whom have gone on to become national- and world-class athletes. I was lucky enough to run the 20th annual “Pre” in 1999 when 17-year-old high schooler Ian Dobson won the 10k in 31:40. Dobson went on to compete in the 5000 meters for the U.S. at the 2008 Olympics.

The Prefontaine Memorial Run is one of those races, like the Lilac Bloomsday Run in Spokane, that welcomes everyone with open arms, but also brings out the “big guns” and gives you a chance to watch and mingle with some top runners.

What: The 36th Prefontaine Memorial Run

When: Saturday, September 19th

Where: Downtown Coos Bay, OR, at the corner of 4th and Anderson

What time: High School 5K – 9:45a, 10K Wheelchair start – 9:50a, 10K runners – 10:00a

Registration: You can enter online HERE. $30 through September 15th, $40 September 16th to race day. $15 for runners 18 and under.

Click HERE for more details.

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