Runners Warm Up on Pre’s Trail

EUGENE, Ore. — The athletes returned Thursday afternoon to Hayward Field for the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, but many top runners spent their morning at Pre’s Trail.

The scenic and peaceful trail at Alton Baker Park is an easy, flat run on woodchip and bark.

The trail offers runners three loops with interlinking paths.

It’s all new to Danny Feldman who’s visiting from New Jersey, who is watching his sister compete at the trials.

“You talk about a running place–this trail. From novices to professionals, they’re out here running,” Feldman said.

Feldman says he spotted Olympic hopeful Charles Jock on the trail and during our interview another star runner all out enjoying Pre’s Trail.

“That was Bernard Legat, who’s the 5,000-meter hopeful, one of the best runners in the world,” Feldman said.

What many can’t see are the upgrades city crews made during the month of May.

Right before the 2008 U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials, thieves stole copper wire used to light the trail; it was replaced but stolen yet again right after the 2008 trials.

Kevin Foerstler with Eugene Parks and Open Space oversaw the repairs.

“The whole thing had to have new wiring. There were nine poles that were vandalized and had to be replaced,” Foerstler said.

Some fixtures also needed new light heads and a conduit was damaged.

In total, the repairs, which included a theft deterrent, cost the city $40,000. It was not a major project. The issue here: Safety.

“With the lighting back on, they’re now able to run into the evening hours,” Foerstler said.

The repairs are making Pre’s Trail — already popular with runners — safer for all.

“In 1 in 10, it had to be an 8 or a 9,” Feldman said. “This is just a pristine runner’s paradise, I guess you could say.”

The city asks runners who use the trail, if you see something suspicious, please call police.

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