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Official Review by Alex Shoemaker, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
There are few places in the sports realm as prestigious, respected, beloved and celebrated as Historic Hayward Field. Yes, HISTORIC Hayward Field.
Don’t you dare leave off that oh so important word. Hayward Field is as historic as any track in the United States, and has seen its fair share of exciting moments.
In 2008, Eugene, OR and Hayward were proud to host the US Olympic Track and Field Trials. That same honor was bestowed in 2012 when Ashton Eaton set the world record in the decathlon.
Hayward has seen NCAA Track and Field championships and is the annual host of the Pre Classic, an event that highlights some of track’s finest.
The Oregon Ducks’ track and field program is consistently ranked at or around the top of the country, and has dominated Pac-10/12 competition for a decade.
Whatever the event, there is, no doubt, going to be an incredible display of athletic talent for fans of all ages.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
It's difficult to give an appropriate rating for food and beverage, because each event is going to bring its own options.
Bigger events like NCAA championships and Olympic Trials are obviously going to cater better, therefore providing fans more choices and higher quality products. An average Ducks track event, or the OSAA track and field state championships, will have popcorn, soda, etc.
Tom's Market is just a 30 second walk away where fans can grab candy and chips to sneak in.
If there were an option to give a "six", Hayward would be deserving of it. Any true track and field fan can tell you about the electricity at a Hayward meet.
Fans are loud, and athletes can feel the energy in the stadium.
Come rain or shine - often rain due to it being Oregon - records are likely to be broken in any event. Athletes do their victory laps, charge up the crowd on a big jump, and keep the event entertaining.
Also, from the grandstand, fans can view every event at once. While some seats have blocked views due to beams, the nostalgia of Hayward wouldn't be the same with a new structure.
Hayward is located in the heart of the University of Oregon campus. Adjacent are the Student Recreation Center, Law Library and Matthew Knight Arena, the university's basketball stadium.
Eugene has a total "college town" feel to it, and campus is the heart of it.
Nearby Hayward Field are plenty of local grub stops. One campus favorite is Track Town Pizza, aptly named for Eugene's moniker of being Track Town USA.
On Franklin Blvd, just down the street, countless restaurants get the majority of their business from UO events like the ones held at Hayward. Popular sites include the Bridge Bar and Grill, Boulevard Grill and Campus Chicken Shack.
One thing to consider, many events do not sell alcohol. So if you want a pregame beer, stopping by one of the aforementioned bars is suggested.
There are no better fans for Track and Field than the ones in Eugene. Despite constant success and relevance, the fans have managed to stay excited. No complacency. No smug attitude. Just pure passion.
Some have complained that track at Hayward has become too commercial and not enough free spirit. For instance, victory laps are now sponsored instead of being spontaneous.
Attend a meet and you'll see the fans respect the events as much as any fan. As mentioned earlier, fans will stand and applaud a long jumper or pole-vaulter about to jump.
There's never a moment of rest, as something or someone is always going.
Access to Hayward is a little complicated. While there is an abundance of parking nearby the venue, you'll have to walk a little bit.
The surrounding area (about a mile around) is meter parking and two-hour parking. Those rules only apply Monday-Friday 8am - 6pm.
For weekday events, parking gets a lot more complicated. You'll either have to cough up the change to pay the meters or move your car away and walk for a while.
There isn't a better place in the country, maybe the world, to catch a track and field than Hayward. Eugene loves track, and has embraced the title of Track Town USA.
Prices of events will differ depending on the level of significance. Prices can range from $15 for smaller events and up to $150 for the Olympic Trials.
It's advisable to purchase tickets in advance. Even small events, tickets can be, and often are, sold out at the ticket booth.
Part of what makes Hayward so special is the list of decorated athletes to have run there. It arguably all began with Steve Prefontaine, a local hero who died in a tragic car accident.
Other notable athletes include Ashton Eaton, Gallen Rupp, Jordan Hasay, Phil Knight, and US Track and Field Olympian during 2008 and 2012.
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