Joe Henderson talks on Eugene running community

Joe Henderson has run over 700 races and has written 25 books. He currently teaches running classes at the University of Oregon and has been in Eugene for over 30 years.
I wanted to know why Eugene was such a popular place for running so I went to Joe to find out. This is Sarah Rough reporting for Writing for Multimedia.
Joe: Today’s run is five miles, going up the usual half-mile a week and we’re going to the river today…
My name is Joe Henderson and I’ll be 70 in a couple months. I think of myself as retired but this is my passion of teaching running classes and coaching marathon runners.
Nike started a publication in Eugene called Running Magazine, which was a short lived effort, uh, but it got me here and I stayed here.
Eugene has been, since the 1960’s the running center of the United States. And there’s more runners per capita here than anywhere and there have been as long as almost anyone here can remember.
When I came to Eugene in 1981 I instantly felt that I was right at home. And it wasn’t that runners were lionized it was, it was more that runners were ignored, they were just part of the scenery. Nobody, nobody asked you why you ran or what you’re doing this stupid thing for, or, or harassed you when you’re out running. It was just normal.
There’s a place for everyone here. And a really good example of that was, this past weekend there was, for people who really wanted to have a good time and not be in a race situation, the Color Me Rad run. It had 6,000 people in the first year.
The U of O P.E. department has supported running since the 1960’s. There are not many universities that have this. But not many places are like Eugene either, where they could draw that many people.
When I see people catch fire, when I see them really develop the enthusiasm, where they come in here thinking, “Oh I’m gonna take this P.E. class, it sounds like it won’t be too bad, and then when it’s done I’ll go off and take another P.E. class. But to see them really get hooked on running gives me satisfaction.
If I can complete a marathon, do all the training and do that 26.2 miles on the day of the race…what other big thing can I take on. It gives them confidence that they can do this.
There’s hundreds of people, thousands of people around town who are just out running and so it is a really comfortable place to be a runner. And that’s why I have called it home for more than 30 years, and I’ll probably be here for the duration.


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