July 30, 2021

U.S. race walkers to compete for Olympic spot on Springfield’s Main Street June 26

Race walkers will compete for a spot on the USA Olympic team along Main Street and Fifth Street in Springfield on June 26.

Race walkers will compete for a spot on the USA Olympic team along Main Street and Fifth Street in Springfield on June 26.

On June 26, 2021, Downtown Springfield, Oregon will host the US Olympic Trials – Race Walk event, a first for the Springfield community.

Please note: Due to high temperatures forecast for Saturday, the starting time is now 7 a.m.

To celebrate this historic event, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce will host a hospitality courtyard with IEQ Technology at the competition start/finish line, 220 5th Street, Downtown Springfield, directly across from the Springfield City Hall Plaza. There will be kids’ activities, giveaways, and the opportunity to purchase a commemorative Race Walk poster for $10.

Good news for early birds.  Due to high temperatures forecasted for Saturday and to maximize the ability of the competing athletes to fight for a spot on Team USA, the race walk competition was shifted to an earlier start. The men’s competition will now go off at 7:00 a.m. Pacific and the women’s competition will go off at 7:01 a.m. Pacific. The official course stretches along 5th Street and Main Street in Downtown Springfield. A short welcoming ceremony for competitors and the public will precede the race. The awards ceremony will be held at the Springfield City Hall Plaza immediately following the race.

The City, along with Team Springfield partners Willamalane Park and Recreation District, Springfield Public Schools, and Springfield Utility Board are excited to welcome visitors and residents alike to this world event set in the heart of our community. Our key partner, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, joins us in the excitement and opportunity to welcome all to Springfield, Oregon.

 “The Chamber is working to create a fan festival experience for community members and spectators alike,” said Vonnie Mikkelsen, president/CEO of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are inviting the public to stop by and have a refreshment, purchase special limited-edition t-shirts or commemorative retro posters, and bring your kids to our activity table where they can make an Olympic medal of their own to take home.” The hospitality courtyard is open to all starting at 6:50 a.m. and will remain open throughout all the morning’s festivities.

Sponsored by Parr Lumber and in partnership with the City of Springfield, the Chamber’s hospitality tent will showcase a number of local businesses and community partners including McKenzie-Willamette Medical Center, All American Pet, Advance Cabinet Designs, The Flower Market, Sheild Catering, Springfield Public Library, Springfield History Museum, the City’s Development and Public Works Department, Travel Lane County, IEQ Technology, and Eugene Magazine. The Chamber’s 2020 Business of the Year, Bi-Coastal Media will send KPNW radio personality Bill Lundun to broadcast live from the event. Businesses are invited to drop off their promotional items in advance of the event to the Chamber, 101 South A Street. Contact Dani@springfield-chamber.org or call: 541-746-1651.

“It’s an honor to host a globally important event with our many partners and welcome the world—in person and through national media coverage—to Springfield,” added Mikkelsen. “It gives us an opportunity to create a lasting impression and a memorable experience for locals, visitors, and spectators tuning in.”

Athletes competing in the Olympic Trials – Race Walk event will race the official course along 5th Street and Main Street in Downtown Springfield. The City is suspending parking enforcement activities in Downtown Springfield to better accommodate event goers.

Community members and visitors are invited to join the event starting at roughly 6:30 a.m., Saturday June 26 at the Springfield City Hall Plaza, 225 Fifth Street in Downtown Springfield, Oregon. A short welcoming ceremony will precede the 20km Race Walk trials, which begin at 7 a.m. for athletes in the men’s race and 7:01 a.m. for athletes competing in the women’s race.

An awards ceremony will be held at the Springfield City Hall Plaza immediately following the race. Then, local youth participating in the TrackGirlz program or Willamalane’s race walk clinics will have the chance to do a 100- or 200-meter race!  

“I am excited that Springfield is hosting the Olympic Trial Race Walk event,” said Springfield Mayor Sean VanGordon. “Downtown Springfield is the perfect backdrop for this event. It will give us an opportunity to cheer on these world class athletes from a truly distinctive part of our city. Thank you to both the Team Springfield partners and Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce for the additional work to make this a special community event.”

A special addition featured at event is a handcrafted Torii Gate created by woodworking students at Springfield High School. Wood used to create the Japanese arch is from the old Hayward Field East Grandstands!

There’s even more fun to be had during the event as the City, Springfield Public Library, and Springfield Chamber host a Community Hospitality Courtyard with kids’ activities, fun giveaways, and the opportunity for residents and visitors to purchase a commemorative Race Walk poster for $10. Additional posters featuring the Springfield Flame, Women Veterans Sculpture, and Downtown Springfield will be available for purchase at the special event rate of $10 each. Proceeds from the sale of this series allow the City to support future public art projects. It also provides visitors and residents with a beautiful keepsake of their time visiting and/or living in Springfield, Oregon.

There’s even more!

Fan-ee Packs

Thanks to Willamalane, community members can reserve space along the official Race Walk course and cheer on athletes. Reserved spaces come with a “fan-ee pack” kit to cheer on the competitors. The most enthusiastic group will have a chance to win a Race Walk poster provided by the City of Springfield. Spaces along the course are limited, and a refundable deposit is required for registration.

Storytime

Join your Springfield Public Library for a virtual, race-themed storytime at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, June 23. This storytime is perfect for preschool and early elementary aged kids, but the whole family is welcome! For full event details, including Zoom meeting information, visit wheremindsgrow.org/events.

SPD Bike Patrol

In addition to helping keep the event safe for everyone, Springfield Police Department will have their popular Bike Patrol Officers on scene in support of the event and to connect with community members and visitors!

Race Walk Clinic 

Willamalane is also hosting free Race Walk Clinics the day before the Race Walk Finals in Springfield. Participants will learn from professional Race Walk coaches, and children who register will have the chance to participate in an event after the official Race Walk Finals on Saturday, June 26.

TrackGirlz

Kids can get real coaching from elite athletes and coaches! This program is available for middle and high school girls who are interested in track and field. Participants get three free weeks of track and field training from Olympian Mechelle Lewis Freeman and Wellness Coach Jennifer Nash Forrester. Participants will also have a chance to do a 100- or 200-meter race on the official U.S. Olympic Team Trials Race Walk course in Springfield!

For more information:

About the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce

The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce is a 501 (c) 6 membership-based association comprised of private, public, and non-profit organizations in the Springfield, Eugene, and surrounding communities. The Chamber advances economic development and prosperity for our region through business education, legislative advocacy, workforce, professional and leadership development, and provides business resources, programs and services to member organizations.

For more information about the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, visit www.springfield-chamber.org or call 541-746-1651.

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