2012 Nike Pre Classic: Kenyan 10,000m Trials Race in Eugene!, release, note by Larry Eder

Moses Mosop, 2011 Nike Prefontaine Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

The Nike Prefontaine Classic will have Hollister Night at Hayward, on Friday night, June 1. The highlighted event will the the 10,000 meters, which will feature the top fifteen Kenyan male runners, as they battle for two places on their Olympic team. This is unprecedented, but makes sense, as the Kenyan Federation, Kenya Athletics, is looking for ways to make their performances better in the upcoming Olympics.

It is a fitting evening to honor the late Geoff Hollister, who was a key player in the development the Prefontaine Classic. Geoff worked with the late Steve Prefontaine, in fact, took over much of his frenetic work upon Prefontaine's death.  Hollister is credited, along with Nelson Ferris, in keeping Nike's history and protecting its corporate soul. Hollister was always one to fight to sponsor another grass roots event, from a cross country invitational to an up and coming young athlete. It was Hollister who reminded three generations of Nike employees that, yes, the first sales of BRS (and Nike) shoes were sold out of the back of beat up cars, in embalming fluid boxes, at road races and track meets on the West coast. Geoff died this past February, after a valiant fight with cancer. Nice to see Nike respecting his memory. 

Besides the 10,000 meters, there will be a men's discus, women's triple jump and women's hammer throw. Nike is sponsoring the night, so no tickets will be needed. Make sure you make it! (And don't miss the Pre Classic the next day!)


            Eugene, Oregon--Athletics Kenya and the Prefontaine Classic jointly announce that the Olympic Trials 10,000-meter race to select Kenya's men's team to the London Olympic Games will be held in conjunction with the Eugene Samsung Diamond League Prefontaine Classic on Friday evening, June 1st.
            The race will be a part of a special "Hollister Night at Hayward", in honor of the late Geoff Hollister, a Nike executive who was instrumental in the creation of many of Oregon's most notable track & field and running events, including the Prefontaine Classic. Hollister Night will precede the main Eugene Samsung Diamond League meet on Saturday, June 2nd.
            "We are honored that Athletics Kenya has asked the Pre Classic to host its men's 10,000-meter selection race for the London Olympics," said meet director Tom Jordan. "That it will be part of Hollister Night at Hayward makes it even more special." Thanks to title sponsor Nike, Inc., there will be no admission charge for the Friday evening program.

Saladuha_Olha-Pre11.JPGOlha Saladuha, 2011 Nike Prefontaine Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

            The race will feature the top 15 Kenyan athletes in the event as identified by Athletics Kenya, the national governing body. The race will be comprised exclusively of Kenyan athletes. As with the U.S. Olympic Trials, no pacesetters will be provided, promising a race of strategy and suspense over the 25 laps.  The top 2 finishers will automatically make the team to London, with the 3rd member being selected by the federation.
            The decision by Athletics Kenya to move the race from Nairobi where it is typically held was based on the fact that Eugene's altitude and weather conditions are similar to those the runners are likely to encounter in London.  At 1680 meters (5672 feet), Nairobi's altitude is vastly higher than London's at sea-level (16 meters), while Eugene at 116 meters is comparable to the Olympic host city.

           The Olympic Trials race during Hollister Night at Hayward will be a fitting introduction to Saturday's 38th annual Prefontaine Classic, the 4th stop on the prestigious Samsung Diamond League circuit of the world's top track & field meets. Last year, the SDL Eugene meeting was rated No. 1 in the world for quality of results by All-Athletics.com, the statistical partner of the Samsung Diamond League.
            Tickets for the meet on Saturday, June 2nd  are on sale at www.preclassic.com, www.goducks.com, from 1-800-WEBFOOT, or in person at the Autzen Stadium ticket windows. Saturday's meet will be shown live on NBC starting at 3 p.m. Eastern Time.

Harting_Robert1b-Pre11.JPGRobert Harting, 2011 Nike Prefontaine Classic, photo by PhotoRun.net

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