Oregon has been everything we could have hoped for, and then some. Between the weather, the people and the beauty of the landscape, Zac and I are hardpressed to determine any place a more gorgeous location to run. And if it were not enough, some of the things that we have been able to experience have left us awestruck at the power that befalls divine appointment.
When we ran into Coos Bay a week ago, the idea of seeing Steve Prefontaine’s hometown was a much anticipated stop. Zac was directing us around the downtown area trying to locate a statue that he had seen on one of his other Oregon journeys. Not a moment after we had finished setting up our camera on our baby jogger/ tripod, a guy named about our age came briskly walking towards us. “Hey guys, I was just wondering if you would like some food or anything to drink?” Zac and I looked at each other in a slightly perplexed yet amiable manner. Zac replied, “Thanks man, but we’re ok,” thinking that the man may have assumed we were homeless. “Well I work over at Cafe 101 and we were told to watch for you guys coming into town.” Then it clicked, the local Christian coffee shop was a ministry of the local church in Bandon and it appeared that our arrival was eagerly expected. Luke led us over to the cafe and they hooked us up…. big time. We got to talk with one of the directors of the church and even discussed our journey with some of the customers who all were very interested in our trek.
As we shared some of our stories and experiences, our conversations were overheard by a woman sitting just across the room from us named Tracy. “Excuse me, I don’t mean to evesdrop but I’m a freelance writer for Runner’s World and I think that what you guys are doing is just awesome. When you finish your meals, would you guys mind if I interviewed you?” I probably had a piece of lettuce just about fall out of my gaping mouth. Runner’s World? Are you serious? Needless to say we had an awesome time sharing some of our stories and the logistics of the trip with Tracy. Now before I get a bunch of responses to this post asking, “well when is the article going to be in the magazine?” I must remind you readers that there are many, many writers for Runner’s World, and that only a select number of articles are admitted to the actual magazine. But what I do find out, I will relay on this site to keep people up to speed. As for right now, pray that God gives Tracy the right words and that the editors at Runner’s World approve her article so that God may be glorified even more through this run!
After our luncheon interview with Tracy, Zac and I decided to go try to see some of the Prefontaine memoiribilia at the local art museum. Unfortunately when we arrived there, the museum was closed, but remember, we are two pretty determined young men. Zac went around the back of the museum and found an old buzzer. With nothing to lose, a few rings and one of the curators came to the door. After a brief explanation for the short shorts and the baby jogger, we were inside, admiring the numerous accomplishments of the late Steve Prefontaine. An experience truly worth the effort.
A few more days on the road and we had arrived at truly one of the most pivotal points of the entire trip, Eugene. I can’t tell you how many times Zac and I would sit and look over the map of the trip and say, “Man, I can’t wait to get to Eugene.” Not only did this point mark what we view as the last long stretch before finishing the run in Canada, this place eats, sleeps, and breathes running. Home of the most famous track in the world, and where the best runners go to compete and train, Zac and I were in running heaven. We also had the opportunity to stay with probably the craziest and most loving person we have ever met, so loving in fact that she refers to each of her seven children by number (you think I am kidding). There are few people who I would esteem as deserving of their own TV show, but then again, she was the only person I have ever met named Babe.
Our rest day was a much needed one with the long, hot run that we had made from Florence into Eugene the day before. The stifling still air and the pounding heat was enough to sap the energy out of me for a week, but upon reaching Eugene, Zac and I were about as excited as a child’s first visit to Disneyland. But the time here in Eugene was not all just sightseeing and fun, it was a time for lessons in life to be learned.
Prayer is a powerful thing, and it is not always right away that we see the way in which God answers. Often times it is because we cannot distinguish the things we need from the things we want, and it may even take retrospect to see the way that things are truly worked for the good of those who serve Him. But in some instances, when our will and His are aligned, we see truly the power of God in a firsthand experience. Zac and I were on our way over to the Eugene Running Company to restock on some nutrition necessities. Our prayer throughout this whole trip is that God would remain the center of our task, and that He would provide the means for us to continue. He did just that, as we were thoroughly blessed by our new found friends helping us out in ways that I would have felt almost silly asking for specifically. It can be often hard to admit that we limit God and His graciousness, but this made me realize how often I do just that in prayer. How often do Christians pray as though a beggar asking a rich man for spare change? Do we forget that we are his children? “For you did not recieve a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have recieved a spirit of adoption. When we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’ it is that very spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ- if in fact we suffer with him so that we may be also glorified with Him.” Romans 8:15-17Ask as a child to a loving parent, for your Father knows what we need.
If the hookups at the running store wasn’t enough, Zac and I even got to meet one of the coaches for Oregon Track Club Elite! For those of you who may not know of this running club, this was a huge honor, as OTC Elite is THE best professional track club in the entire country, and arguably, the world. Coach Mark Reinker not only showed us some of the training facilities at University of Oregon’s track, he rolled out the big guns as he let Zac and I each try the G-trainer. Basically, an anti-gravity treadmill that makes it possible for even non-runners to run at incredible speeds with little effort. If only the Jetson’s could see us now…
Pre’s rock, Hayward field, and enough of Babe’s stories to at least keep us reminiscing about the good old days well into Canada were the well needed refreshment we needed as we prepare to tackle the final weeks of bless the coast. Your prayers are more powerful than you know, and more importantly, God hears you! Thanks everyone and stay tuned! Be sure to check out some of the photos too!