For Oregon senior Trevor Dunbar, running has always been a family affair.
Dunbar’s mother Kathleen was a multiple-time All-American distance runner at the University of Portland, where she met his father, Marcus. After transferring to the University of Oregon and graduating in 1988, Marcus became a U.S. indoor mile champion and ran a personal best of 4:00.58 in the mile in 1993.
Trevor and his older brother Miles ran at kids camps and meets in Kodiak, Alaska, throughout elementary school and junior high before ramping up their training with the Kodiak High School cross country and track and field teams.
Their high school coach was none other than their father, who was able to share his knowledge and passion for the sport with his boys and train with them, too.
“It was motivating,” Miles said. “It was fun to get out there, enjoy nature and just enjoy the process of running.”
Trevor’s sophomore year was the start of a three-year state championship streak for the Kodiak cross country team. Since it was Miles’ senior year, it was the lone championship that the three were able to share.
“It was very rewarding because our whole family rejoiced in it,” Marcus said.
Dunbar won his first of three individual state cross country championships that year and went on to claim three individual track and field titles during his prep career.
Dunbar took a similar collegiate path as his father, spending his first two years at Portland before transferring to Oregon. He earned two All-American honors in cross country at Portland before competing in several NCAA championships for the Ducks.
But knee and Achilles injuries plagued Dunbar’s 2013 indoor and outdoor track season as he was unable to compete for the Ducks.
He salvaged his season in July by running a 3:59.06 mile at the Roughrider Twilight Meet, breaking his father’s Alaskan record and becoming the first Alaskan to ever break the elusive four-minute barrier. Marcus was on hand, reading his son’s lap splits as Trevor etched his name into Alaskan lore. It was only fitting that Trevor wore his father’s old Alaska Track Club singlet.
“Having my dad there to watch that live was really special,” Trevor said. “To wear his old jersey was kind of symbolic.”
For Marcus, watching Trevor break his record was equally rewarding.
“I always told him, ‘If I could do one thing I never did, it was break that four-minute mile,’” Marcus said. “I really enjoyed watching him do it and achieving that goal as a family. It kind of eased the wounds that I had of never getting it.”
Trevor was able to represent both his family and his home state at that meet, but this past Friday at the Washington Invitational he donned an Oregon singlet for the first time since 2012. With the indoor season in session and outdoor on the horizon, he’s looking forward to soaking up his final months as a Duck.
“This is my last chance here, so I’m trying to enjoy every moment, not only as a member of the track team but also as a college student,” Dunbar said.
Follow Chris Mosch on Twitter @chris_mosch