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One Day on the Oregon22 Heritage Trail

Published: July 20, 2022

 

Pay tribute to the track and field global medal winners whose hearts found their home in the Eugene-Springfield area. This Eugene-based section of the Oregon22 Heritage Trail, which showcases champion track and field athletes from across Oregon, can be toured in a day. Ten plaques are on display throughout the nearby communities, from favorite trailheads to museum settings. Start in the historic town of Coburg, explore Springfield, and ramble across Eugene. Rent a "FUV" electric vehicle for an easy, environmentally-friendly way to cruise the trail, honor the communities great athletes and see more of the area.

Coburg - Morning

Start your lap of the Oregon22 Heritage Trail in Coburg which borders north Eugene and Springfield. Coburg is a charming destination to visit with historic homes, antique and boutique shopping, and great dining. Miles of back country roads rolling past vineyards and small farms are a runners' paradise for pleasant, long runs. At Blue Valley Bistro order your favorite coffee and pastry, then stroll across the street to Pavilion Park to the first plaque. If you are inspired, pick up a map of the historic homes and jog around town to take in the architecture and learn about the early residents. Favorite shops include Coburg Candy Company for sweet treats, and FarmFancy for everything else under the sun.

At the end of the day, when you've finished the local Oregon22 Heritage Trail section, you can return to Coburg to sip wine at the adjacent Hayworth Wine Bar and toast the region's awe-inspiring athletes.

1. Annette Peters - Goodwill Games Bronze Medalist 1994

Annette Peters won the bronze for the 3000 meters at the Goodwill Games in 1994. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque honors her at Pavilion Park.

Springfield - Early Afternoon

Springfield is just over the bridge from the University of Oregon campus. Along historic Main Street discover tributes to The Simpsons TV show, allegedly inspired by this community; view beautiful street murals; shop the eclectic boutiques and enjoy an array of excellent food and beverage venues. This is a great place for lunch! Springfield High School has generated many top track and field stars, who benefited by the miles of riverfront paths and green parks ideal for training. You can also walk along the river and enjoy the shady groves and wide open meadows.

2. Maria Mutola - Olympics Gold Medalist 2000

Maria Mutola attended Oregon's Springfield High School, training under her high school coach even after she moved to South Africa. She competed in six Olympics and won gold for the 800 meter event. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque is posted on "Shana's Trail" — an 800 meter path in the Willamalane park district, named for Shana Thomas Barr, another local track athlete who also competed for Springfield High School. 

3.  Bill Dellinger - Olympics Bronze Medalist 1964

Bill Dellinger trained as a middle distance runner under Bill Bowerman at the University of Oregon and brought home the bronze from the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo for the 5,000 meters. He was a three-time Olympian and later served as head coach for the University of Oregon's Track and Field. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque is posted at Silke Field at Springfield High School (849 N 10th St) where he attended high school.

4.  Nicholas Symmonds - World Athletics Championships Silver Medalist 2013

A Willamette University graduate with multiple NCAA Division III titles, Nicholas Symmonds joined Nike's Oregon Track Club Elite post-college. He won a silver medal for the 800 meters at the World Athletics Championships. The Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque honoring Nick Symmonds at Springfield's Island Park.

Eugene - Late Afternoon

Crisscross Eugene from its trailheads to its parks as you explore the neighborhoods cherished by medal-winning athletes. Layer the Oregon22 Heritage Trail tour with other track fan landmarks from Pre's Rock to Hayward Hall. Discover local restaurants; quiet, out-of-the-way parks; and urban hikes. Fuel up with fresh veggies and fruits at Sundance Market, a small organic market in South Eugene. Picnic at one of the beautiful parks that host a plaque.

5. Lance Deal - Olympics Silver Medalist 1996

Lance Deal won the silver medal in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics for the hammer throw. He was four time Olympian and 21-time national champion. He still lives in Eugene and designs and produces hammer and discus cages.

6. H.W. Kerrigan - Intercalated Olympics Bronze Medalist 1906

H.W. Kerrigan was the first Olympian from the state of Oregon and won the Bronze medal in 1906 for high jump. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque honoring him is on display at the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House as part of their Heritage Sports Exhibit through the summer of 2022. It will be permanently installed in Portland at a future date.

7. Kelly Blair LaBounty - Goodwill Games Bronze Medalist 1998

Kelly Blair LaBounty came to the University of Oregon as a two-sport athlete, playing on the Oregon Duck basketball team and running track. She won bronze in the 1998 Goodwill Games for the heptathlon and qualified for the Olympics twice. An Oregon22 Heritage Trail plaque honoring Kelly Blair LaBounty is in Charnal Mulligan Park.

8. Margaret Johnson Bailes - Olympics Gold Medalist 1968

Margaret Johnson Bailes is the only Olympic gold medalist who grew up in Eugene. She ran track at Jefferson Middle School, now the Arts and Technology Academy (ATA) and later at Churchill High School. Her records still stand for the 100-meter and 200-meter. The plaque is located at ATA at the middle school track named in her honor.

9. Brianne Theisen-Eaton - Olympics Bronze Medalist 2016

Brianne Theisen-Eaton won bronze in the 2016 Olympics for the heptathlon. She attended the University of Oregon and won back-to-back NCAA heptathlon titles. Brianne currently works for Nike with the Nike Run Club. 

10. Cathie Twomey Bellamy - IAAF World Cross Country Championships Gold Medalist 1984

Eugene resident Cathie Twomey Bellamy won gold in the 1984 World Cross Country Championships. She qualified for four Olympic Trials and three U.S. Track & Field Olympic Trials finals, along with winning the indoor national championship in the mile and setting a world best at 20 kilometers in 1982. 

Flanagan plaque
Twenty-two track and field global medalists that have called Oregon "home" are honored at meaningful locations across the state.… More Info
Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.