The distance runner Steve Prefontaine wasn't a native son of Eugene, Oregon, but the city couldn't have loved him more if he had been. After his untimely death in 1975, Prefontaine's friends and fans worked to construct "Pre's Trail." The trail opened in Fall of 1975, just months after Prefontaine died. It was the kind of path that he had seen while competing in Europe--smooth, wide, and surfaced with bark and other natural materials. Pre's Trail averages eight feet wide, spacious enough for cross-country meets and community races. Volunteers keep the vegetation trimmed back from the trail.
A year after Pre's Trail opened, the first Salute to Prefontaine 5K was run in Tallahassee. The course has changed over the years, but it has been always been on paths, jeep trails, and forest roads surfaced with loose sand and other natural materials, but mostly loose sand. The course may actually be a maximum of eight feet wide in some spots, but I'd have to think hard to be able to name those spots. Before the race, volunteers drag sticks and logs out of the woods and onto the course.
It's a hypothetical question as to which memorial Steve Prefontaine would consider more fitting. Maybe they're equally appropriate in that they're both vehicles by which people express their love for running. Which is a nice thought, but my preference would still be for the memorial where I'd be less likely to trip, fall down, and hurt myself.
More than 300 runners showed up in the Forest were less timid on the trails, though, and showed up for the 2014 Salute to Prefontaine, over 180 in an open 5K and the rest in a later high school 5K race. So many showed up that the line into the Silver Lake Recreation Area got backed up, and the 8:30 AM start had to be delayed by 15 minutes. But the race did start, and Chris Lake bolted to the front of the field. Vince Molosky tucked in behind Lake, managing to stay on his heels until right before the halfway point, when Lake started to open a gap. Meanwhile, Patrick Dawson of the Shaw's Running Team was closing in on Molosky. During the second half of the race Dawson moved into second, but couldn't break contact with Molosky. Nate Kaiser closed in, also challenging for second place.
Chris Lake raced home to win in 17:43. Patrick Dawson held off a late charge from Vince Molosky to hang on to second, 17:55 to 17:56. Nate Kaiser was close behind them in fourth at 17:59. In a tight race for the top master spot, Michael Martinez edged out Philip Sura 20:24 to 20:26, the two master runners finishing seventh and eighth overall.
Renee Cox led the women's field almost from the start of the race, but Cora Atkinson always had Cox in her sights. A Life University cross-country runner, Atkinson closed on Cox during the second half of the race. With 200 meters to go, Atkinson was on Cox's shoulder, with Cox fighting to stay ahead. Atkinson flashed by, though, taking the women's title with a 22:30, finishing 29th overall. Cox was the women's runner-up, coming in 30th overall in 22:33. Anna Busby, the previous week's Women's Distance Festival 5K champion, was third in the women's standings, 35th overall in 22:59. Paula O'Neill was the fourth woman finisher and first woman master, 52nd overall in 24:36.
Top Ten Men, 2014 Salute to Prefontaine 5K
- 17:43 ~ Chris Lake (M, 27)
- 17:55 ~ Patrick Dawson (M, 23)
- 17:56 ~ Vince Molosky (M, 35)
- 17:59 ~ Nate Kaiser (M, 35)
- 18:48 ~ Peter Kaus (M, 30)
- 20:18 ~ Brian Molen (M, 38)
- 20:24 ~ Michael Martinez (M, 48)
- 20:26 ~ Philip Sura (M, 44)
- 20:29 ~ Charles Kemeny (M, 39)
- 20:45 ~ Tim Unger (M, 55)
Top Ten Women, 2014 Salute to Prefontaine 5K
- 22:30 ~ Cora Atkinson (F, 20)
- 22:33 ~ Renee Cox (F, 27)
- 22:59 ~ Anna Busby (F, 24)
- 24:36 ~ Paula O' Neill (F, 53)
- 24:42 ~ Mary Vancore (F, 51)
- 24:49 ~ Lilli Unger (F, 12)
- 25:03 ~ Amy McClenathan (F, 54)
- 25:29 ~ Nancy Stedman (F, 52)
- 25:37 ~ Emily Ness (F, 24)
- 25:41 ~ Jennifer Shafer (F, 46)
|Known winners of GWTC's Prefontaine Forest 5K|
|25 September 1976||15:43, Tim Simpkins||19:20, Nancy McCormac|
|September 1977||15:35, Tim Simpkins||19:00, Janice Gage|
|23 September 1978|
|20 September 1980||17:17, George West||20:52, Donna Miller|
|September 1981||18:20, Shannon Sullivan||22:27, Pam Ledbetter|
|24 September 1983||17:17, Jeff Doherty||20:36, Donna Miller|
|September 1984||17:11, Larry Abele||20:43, Barbara Balzer|
|September 1985||16:51, Tim Simpkins||20:40, Darien Andreu|
|27 September 1986||17:20, Tim Simpkins||22:14, Laura Partin|
|12 September 1987||17:33, Tom Burr||21:20, Linda Nicholson|
|24 September 1988||17:38, Tom Burr||22:23, Yvonne Gsteiger|
|23 September 1989||17:25, Tim Simpkins||21:30, Vikki Saga|
|22 September 1990||17:12, Bill Crooks||22:23, Tina Davies|
|22 September 1991||17:54, Gary Droze||24:48, Tina Davies|
|19 September 1992||18:29, Gary Droze||22:05, Diane Blas|
|18 September 1993||17:58, Tim Simpkins||24:16, Sissi Carroll|
|17 September 1994||17:00, Gary Droze||21:16, Carrie Weyant|
|30 September 1995||17:12, Gary Droze||22:56, Sissi Carroll|
|28 September 1996||19:18, Gary Droze||22:56, Jane Johnson|
|27 September 1997||18:50, Bill Crooks||23:07, Julie Clark|
|26 September 1998||19:26, Paul Hoover||24:44, Peggy Simpson|
|25 September 1999||17:56, Gary Droze||24:13, Brandi Rook|
|30 September 2000||17:49, Gary Droze||22:17, Allie Hunter|
|29 September 2001||19:37, Scott Poindexter||22:17, Allie Hunter|
|5 October 2002||22:17, David Yon||25:47, Yvonne Gsteiger|
|27 September 2003||18:35, Shawn Patterson||23:49, Angela Dempsey|
|25 September 2004||17:43, Gary Droze||22:46, Seeley Lovett|
|24 September 2005||18:13, Gary Droze||24:06, Jane Johnson|
|23 September 2006||17:24, Gary Droze||19:59, Stephanie Liles|
|29 September 2007||17:29, Chris Gregory||20:26, Micah Adriani|
|27 September 2008||18:16, Daniel Lee||21:10, Kati Gosnell|
|26 September 2009||20:28, Joel Piotrowski||21:20, Micah Adriani|
|25 September 2010||18:53, Jay Wallace||22:17, Kelly Stevens|
|24 September 2011||19:08, Michael Martinez||22:31, Olivia Swedberg Yinger|
|22 September 2012||17:18, Stanley Linton||20:58, Micah Adriani|
|21 September 2013||16:27, Stanley Linton||23:34, Melissa Geary|
|27 September 2014||17:43, Chris Lake||22:30, Cora Atkinson|
- 2014 Prefontaine 5K high school race story, "Maclay harriers make themselves at home at Silver Lake"
- Complete results of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Prefontaine Forest 5K at gulfwinds.org
- More photos of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Prefontaine Forest 5K
- Fred Deckert's Photos of Gulf Winds Track Club's 2014 Prefontaine Forest 5K
- 2013 story, "Linton turns the fastest Prefontaine time in over three decades"
- 2012 story, "Linton gets his first Prefontaine 5K win, Adriani her third"
- 2011 story, "Martinez and Yinger prevail at Prefontaine 5K"
- 2010 story, "Wallace and Stevens tear up the trails at 'Salute to Prefontaine'"
- Find your next race, road or trail, in the Tallahassee region