Monday, November 4, 2013

hometown tourist: pre's rock

I've been searching for Pre's rock since I moved to town. Not heavy-searching, mind you, but every now and then I'll get a wild hare and set off on a drive, and sometimes I end up in the hills.

Driving through the south hills, the sign points you up a curvy mountainous road lined with pretty houses with steep driveways. This is where Steve Prefontaine was driving the night he lost control of his MGB.

And invariably, seeing no further signs along the way, I have always continued straight (the left fork) up the hill when driving. Pre's Rock is on the right fork.

A former high school runner in the PNW can't escape the mythology of Oregon's runners. It was here, after all, that Nikes were invented, here where the Olympic Track and Field trials have been held five times, and here where Pre won 78% of races he ever ran. Looking at just his college races, that percentage leaps to 100% at the UO. Our coaches would wax poetic about what might have been, and what could be for us.

We found it in the rain one day when out for a drive and pulled over quickly to take a couple of photos with my phone. It's a bit of a shrine, really, which I was prepared for. Runners leave shoes, race numbers, singlets, flowers. Lovely how new generations of young athletes keep his memory alive.

Thanks for reading.

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