At the Oregon Relays, there were more than just Division I athletes competing over the weekend at Historic Hayward Field. Many members of the Oregon running club suited up for a variety of events.
“Over the years we have been sending more and more guys,” club coordinator Kyle Krahenbuhl said. “I think this is the most we’ve ever had in a meet.”
The opportunity to run at a venue like Hayward isn’t lost on the club members.
“The history and the magnitude, I’ve never run at a track with a stadium like that before,” Krahenbuhl said. “If you think about the history and everything that has been there, it’s hollowed ground.”
A bonus to competing at Hayward is the fan presence, which on Saturday was out in full force. A unique aspect to the Tracktown fans is that they will cheer for all athletes, no matter what school or level they represent.
“That is the really special part,” Krahenbuhl said of the Oregon fans. “You get under the grandstand where you check in and you can hear the people stomping above you.”
Though it is officially only a club program, the running club has a history of bringing in talented athletes. The team trains five days a week, working hard to improve themselves as runners. While they work hard, they make sure to maintain a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.
“We are all about just enjoying running and having fun,” Krahenbuhl said. “So it’s cool to be able to do that and be successful at these huge meets.”
Krahenbuhl competed at the Relays in a couple of events, though most notable was his participation on the 4×400 meter relay team. He ran the event with Anthony Gutrick, Andre Lightsey-Walker and Walter Stern. Their goal going into the meet was to set a new club record.
All four runners had strong showings in the first heat of the event. While they ran in last position for the entirety of the race, it was the final time that meant the most to the team. They finished with a time of 3:29.45, setting a record like they hoped.
“The energy is super powerful out there,” Stern said. “It is amazing, the experience of running here.”
After the race the team celebrated their new record, happy that they finally met their goal.
“Especially being a part of a relay and getting to share the win with your teammates, it makes it more special,” Lightsey-Walker said.
Follow Chris Keizur on Twitter @chriskeizur