The meet has expanded to two days, with the free night of track and field on Friday, which last year honored the late Geoff Hollister, the second promo guy at Nike (Pre was the first).
Nike puts a huge effort into this meet. For most of its first fifteen-twenty years, the Pre Classic was the only meet in North America that dared to compare itself to summer European meets. The Pre Classic lead by example, with great fields and three hours of top notch competition. It is, for this keen observer of the sport, the yearly litmus test on where track & field in particular, and running in general ranks with key players of Nike, Inc. There are many years when one can find the major power brokers within the Swoosh in attendance, as well as many of the top managers and agents.
Geoff Hollister, Steve Prefontaine, circa 1974,
photo courtesy of Nike Communications
In the 1995 meet, Frank Shorter showed up and told the assembled masses how Pre's death changed his view of life. There have been exciting moments in the positive sanctuary that is Hayward Field, and the majority of them have been about amazing depth of fields and great mano a mano and womeno a womeno competitions.
In 2001, Alan Webb destroyed the high school boy's outdoor mile record, and was greeted by Hicham El Gerroujj at the finish line. In 2011, Mo Farah won his first foray into the 10,000 meters in a brilliant run. In 2012, Tirunesh Dibaba showed that, after two years of bad health, she was ready to defend her 10,000m title in London. Those are a few of the many moments that make the Pre Classic so special.
This year is no exception. In the men's high jump, men's pole vault, the fields are impressive. Today, the Pre Classic announced that the TFN Women Athlete of the year, Valerie Adams, the first women shot putter in three decades to be athlete of the year, will be competing in Eugene.
Valerie Adams, of New Zealand, has been the most dominant women thrower of the past half decade. From 2007, in Osaka, when she took the gold at the World Championships, through her fine performance in London 2012, where she ultimately received the gold in the shot put, Valerie Adams has shown her competitiveness, but also her sense of humor, her focus and her class as an athlete.
Valerie Adams has provided Runblogrun.com with some fun interviews, and we look forward to seeing her go 22 meters in Eugene, Oregon! No Pressure, Valerie!