The World Athletics Championships are taking place in Eugene, Ore., next summer, and on Tuesday the organizing committee released a map of the very spectator-friendly marathon course. Made up of three loops, fans will be able to line the course to cheer on their favourite athletes.
The men’s and women’s marathons will take place on July 17 and 18, and athletes will make their way around three, mostly flat 14-kilometre loops that will run through Eugene and the neighbouring town of Springfield. To complete the full marathon distance, runners will follow an extra 195m loop before heading to the finish at the University of Oregon’s Autzen Stadium. Sections of the course are on the same roads as the marathon course used in the 1972 and 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials, and course manager Ian Dobson says their goal was to showcase the beauty of the area while creating an excellent athlete experience.
“Our objective was to design a course that prioritises the athlete experience while honouring Oregon’s natural landscape, indigenous people, and long-held passion for running,” he said in an interview with World Athletics.
The course runs through scenic and historic areas, starting on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard, through the 413-acre Alton Baker Park and along Pre’s Trail, which has been designated as a City of Eugene historic landmark in honour of University of Oregon track and field legend, Steve Prefontaine. The course will then cross over the Willamette River and into Springfield, where competitors will run under a canopy of giant sequoia trees before returning to the start to do it all again.
The course will be accessible to fans for free, giving spectators a chance to watch their favourite athletes compete with the best in the world. The qualification window to earn a spot at worlds is now open, and Team Canada will likely be named early next summer. The World Athletics Championships will be taking place from July 15-24, 2022, and you can view the full competition schedule here.