Daymaker - a person who performs acts of kindness with the intention of making the world a better place.
~ David Wagner
, author of Life as a Daymaker; how to change the world by making someone's day ~

DayMaker - any thought, word, or deed that spreads happiness, compassion, or fruitful ideas.
~ Annis Cassells ~

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Doing "The PRE"

In this small coastal town of Coos Bay, Oregon, there’s always something going on. But, a single event that unifies this community occurs in mid-September. It’s “The PRE”.  In early July, Downtown Health & Fitness starts their “10 Weeks to a 10K” boot camp during which previous years’ racers and newbies prepare for the big day. Soon, people are asking everyone, “Are you doing The Pre this year?”

That’s short for the Steve Prefontaine Memorial Run, an annual race that commemorates the life and gifts of Steve Prefontaine, international track star and Coos Bay’s favorite son. 
Bonnie boogies on after the turn-around.
Hey, we're not last! Judy, me, Mary

This year marks the 33rd running of the 10K that takes participants over one of Pre’s favorite training courses. It’s a hilly route that begins in the heart of downtown, snakes out along Ocean Boulevard and over “Agony Hill” to the turn-around at the cemetery, over 3 miles out.We end passing by the Prefontaine family home and onto the Marshfield High School track, where we do that last quarter-mile to the finish line.

What? Consecutive race numbers!

In anticipation of the start, a carnival atmosphere infuses the nippy air. Some runners are costumed in wild leggings, others in tutus and weird hats. Most of us are moving around to stay warm in our light-weight clothing, chosen because we know that soon we’ll be hot sweaty. Some jog about the area, warming up or running out their “nerves.”  Participants search out and meet friends, taking photos and reminiscing about past Pres. Onlookers and well-wishers mingle with runners.

Long-time, hometown friends Marilyn and Mary assert that they aren’t nervous nowadays; it’s not like in past times when they were “real runners.” Today, they just want to finish.
Looking over Marilyn's shoulder at the crowd ahead

There’s our gun! And, we are off, a mass of humanity flowing west through downtown streets before the crowd spreads out, the real runners pulling away and the rest of us starting our first uphill climb.

Laurie - her 32nd annual race

Our friend Laurie has run in 32 of these races. Judy has walked and jogged it four times since 2005, and I’ve walked The Pre twice. This year, both Laurie and Judy took 3rd place in their respective age groups!

Judy was so surprised!

Marilyn's almost there!

For Marilyn and Mary, it is a panorama of familiar faces and old friends in both directions. Those whom they know are either running or walking in the race, too, or lining the streets, cheering and shouting encouragement. Amid the waves, smiles, and greetings, Marilyn says, “I love this! Seeing practically my whole life unfold before me in one day!”

Official time 1:40.03
Coos Bay, with its tradition of this celebration woven into the fabric of the community, has become my second home. You have to love it. Our friend Sue, who also did not grow up here, put it eloquently: Even though we never knew Steve Prefontaine, the emotion wells up inside and we find ourselves moved and touched by this incredible young man’s story, this race, and the hearts of our town.

~ xoA ~


  1. Good for you! You never cease to amaze me!!

    1. Thanks, Kate. It was fun. Though my muscles have spoken to me in more than a whisper. xoA

  2. What a wonderful story! Thanks for including so many photos, too. This feels similar to the Komen 3-day walk's atmosphere, with the participants wearing fun outfits and other people lining the streets. A close friend of mind did that walk this year here in the Twin Cities and it was really emotional all the way through. Anything like this that brings a community together in a thoughtful yet joyous way is an amazing experience, isn't it? Coos Bay sounds like a place I'd like to visit.

    1. Thanks for writing and for sharing your friend's story, too. Yes, you would enjoy Coos Bay. Put it on your west coast itinerary! xoA

  3. Sounds like fun, Annis! And thanks so much for sharing the pictures!

    1. It was great fun, Bobbi! Thank you, my friend. xoA

  4. I love this blog and am so glad I was able to be a part of memorable event this year. See you next year.

    1. Thanks,J. Looking forward to next year! xoA

  5. There is no grass growing under your feet on this trip. Looked like a beautiful day spent with beautiful friends. Madeline

    1. It was a perfect day for this event -- overcast except for the last mile when the sun came out. And, yes, the great friends. Thanks for writing, Madeline. xoA