In many ways, Saturday's Prefontaine Classic at the University of Oregon in Eugene was the shining show of track and field excellence fans have come to expect. But in one way, it was notably different.
Meet records fell in women's pole vault and men's shot put and some U of O athletes returned as international stars, but Hayward Field itself was the focus of the this year's meet.
This was the last Pre Classic before the stadium is renovated to prepare for the 2021 World Championships. Announcers, spectators and athletes all paid tribute to the place. Jenny Simpson finished third in the 1500 in 3:59. The first time she ran under four minutes was at Hayward:
Simpson: “As an athlete that had really this stadium to thank for a huge building and turning and confidence moment in my life in 2009, this is kind of track and field sacred ground.”
She thinks the new facility will be bigger and better, but it will never be the same. Organizers say they want to keep the Prefontaine Classic in the Pacific Northwest, but the location of next year's event is still in question.