Thousands of marathoners and half-marathoners ran through the streets of Eugene and Springfield Sunday morning for the 12th annual Eugene Marathon that started and finished at Hayward Field. People lined the perimeter of the track and filled the stands, cheering on first-time marathoners and personal-record-breakers with signs and enthusiasm.
Although he said it was kind of a last minute decision to register for the half marathon, freshman Stephen Gaughran said running the marathon was an opportunity to connect with his dad who has a history of running, including the Eugene course last year.
“None of my siblings have ever run a marathon or a half-marathon before, so I think he’s happy that someone picked up a hobby that he’s into, even if it was a short-lived hobby,” said Gaughran.
For junior Lizzy Widder, running is also in the family and her grandfather was one reason she decided to register despite playing in a rugby tournament the day before and having an intramural soccer game later that day.
“He’s 82 and he runs every day,” Widder said. “My dad did a marathon with two weeks of training, so I tried to do it too.”
Finishing on Hayward Field was special for fellow freshman Nicole Kiley and Gaughran. For Gaughran, who said he’s never been on Hayward Field, it was a motivator.
“As you start to come out of the woods you can hear people cheering so I started pretending like I’d been running fast the entire time. Finishing on Hayward, that was the highlight. At that point, I was in so much pain but I kind of forgot it once I got to the track,” Gaughran said.
The crowd also did not go unnoticed with signs and even people with a banjo and an accordion.
“Pretty much the whole way the streets were lined with people which was a lot of fun,” said Gaughran. “There’s a lot of energy all around you which made the run a lot easier and helped distract you from how much it hurt.”
Widder said the familiarity of running around campus is one of the reasons she decided to run the half marathon.
One feature Widder and Gaughran utilized was the new tracking feature allowing spectators to track runners on the course. Wider said knowing her friends were watching her run on their phone was a motivator for her.
“We ran past my house and they all came outside to cheer,” she said.
Gaughran said his dad tracked him as well.
“The first thing he did when I called him was remind me that he ran it like 30 minutes faster than me back in the day,” he said. “As a whole, he was definitely excited.”
Although he said his dad wants to run the marathon with him next year, he’s not making any plans yet.
“At the moment I think I’m retiring from running,” said Gaughran. “That’s not to say I won’t come out of retirement, but I’m hanging up the spikes for a while.”
Kiley said she aims to do the full marathon next year.
“It’s such a beautiful track and running next to everyone on the sidelines and in the stands was really cool too,” said Kiley.