Portland Track Festival: A Brief History
The Portland Track Festival launched in 2008, with the objective of bringing America's best track and field athletes to Portland, Oregon. Starting small and with a goal to grow each and every year, the Portland Track Festival now ranks as one of the best professional meets in the United States and hosts numerous USA Outdoor Track and Field Championship qualifiers and Olympic hopefuls.
2013 | Results
The strongest collection of distance runners in Portland Track Festival history, the 2013 PTF entertained a record crowd with a mixture of meet records, U.S. top 10 performances and some very memorable racing.
The main event of the evening happened to be the men's 800m. With a field of Olympians and Team USA contenders lining up, fast times were all but guaranteed. Perfect pacing by the rabbit got the race out fast but under control. With the majority of athletes bunched together with 200m to go who took the win was anyones guess. Into the final homestretch, Tyler Mulder of the Oregon Track Club pulled away, setting a new personal best and winning some serious bragging rights with a winning mark of 1:44.79. Unheralded Joe Abbott finished second in 1:45.80, while Brooks Beasts' Mark Wieczorek finished third in 1:45.85, edging World Champion medalist Matthew Centrowitz, who finished fourth in 1:45.86.
The other story of the night came in the women's 5,000m, which saw prep phenom Mary Cain test her talents over a longer distance. While the magic of "Cainsanity" didn't quite appear, she still finished sixth overall in a new high school record of 15:45.46. Olympic marathon Karolina Jarzynska (Poland) won the race in 15:25.52.
Both the men's and women's steeplechase races proved exciting for different reasons. 2008 Olympian Billy Nelson simply ran away from the field in his race, cruising the entire way to an 8:33.14 clocking. In the women's race, Aisha Praught outkicked 2012 Olympian Shalaya Kipp over the final 100m, taking home top prize by a 9:50.06-9:50.83 margin.
Elsewhere, Jemma Simpson edged Katie Mackey for the women's 800m title, 2:04.46-2:04.94. Violah Lagat (sister of Olympic and World Championship medalist Bernard Lagat) won the women's 1,500m in an inspiring 4:09.71, besting runner-up Brie Felnagle, who ran 4:10.44. University of Oregon runner Chad Noelle won the men's 1,500m in 3:41.09, while Forest Braden won the men's 5,000m in 13:41.93.
2012 | Results
With the U.S. Olympic Track and Field Trials right around the corner, the Portland Track Festival was used as either a qualifying meet or a tune-up meet for many Olympic hopefuls. A total of eight women achieved the "A" standard between the 5,000m and 10,000m. After being paced by Kim Conley (a 2012 Olympian) for four miles, Rebecca Donaghue won the women's 10k in 32:36.05. In the women's 5k, PTF veteran Renee Metivier Baillie scored the win, running 15:28.56. Conley came back the following day to win the women's 1,500m in 4:12.53.
In the men's 5,000m, multi-time Olympian Dathan Ritzenhein ran both sections of the event, using it to gage fitness, as he prepared to challenge for a Team USA spot over 10,000m at the Trials. Ritzenhein proved victorious in both races, easily winning section 2 in 13:58.68, while edging a very strong section 1 field. Ritzenhein ran away from Aaron Braun and David McNeill, winning in 13:19.78, while Braun and McNeill finished in 13:20.25 and 13:21.62 respectively.
The men's 1,500m came loaded with talent, as future Olympic finalist and U.S. steeplechase record holder Evan Jager placed second as he tuned up for the Trials. Jager ran to a great 3:40.72, but found himself in the runner-up position, as John Mickowski pulled the upset with a 3:40.60 clocking.
Always a meet for masters runners to perform their best, Kris Passo set a new meet record in the women's 3,000m, running 9:42.60.
2011 | Results
Superb times dotted the results in 2011. The highlight race of the evening was the women's 5,000m. Olympian Amy Hastings ran away from a stacked field, finishing in 15:19.61, well ahead of fellow Olympians Desi Davila (15:34.52) and Kim Conley (15:43.25). For all three athletes, the Portland Track Festival was a big stepping stone to even better performances in months and years ahead. One small note, multi-time NXN champion Sarah Baxter, who was only a freshman in 2011, ran in the women's race and finished in 16:45.87 (prep US#11).
Multi-time U.S. champion Lauren Fleshman won in a landslide in the women's 1,500m, showing her incredible fitness with a 4:14.75 clocking. Katie Follett (Mackey) won the women's 800m dash in a 2:02.63, while Mark Wieczorek edged Kevin Hicks for the men's 800m win, 1:47.44-1:47.89.
Not to be overlooked, North Central High School ran a US#1 time in the 4xmile relay, running an impressive 17:20.77 (an average of 4:20/leg).
2010 | Results
With 2009 being a breakthrough year for the event, hopes were high for the 2010 edition. The men's 5,000m race highlighted the evening. Ed Moran repeated as men's 5,000m champion, this time running 13:29.46 to lead seven men under 13:47. Kevin Chelimo and Olympian Ian Dobson placed second and third respectively with marks of 13:30.55 and 13:31.89.
Ryan Brown beat a strong men's 800m field, sprinting away from Tyler Mulder to win in 1:47.98, with Mulder placing second in 1:48.08. In addition, future Olympian Kim Conley won the women's 5,000m in 15:51.57.
Building off of their 2009 showings, Jim Sorensen and Trina Painter repeated as masters winners, with Sorensen once again taking home the men's mile title and Painter the women's 3,000m title.
On the prep side of things, Washington-state rivals Katie Knight and Amy-Eloise Neale battled in the girls two mile. Knight pulled away to victory in 10:31.35, while Neale finished in 10:44.88 for second. Elias Geydon won the boys mile in 4:08.24, narrowly edging second and third, as all three finishers dipped under the 4:09 barrier. In the relays, Dana Hills High School ran a US#2 time in the boys DMR with a 9:58.76 showing.
2009 | Results
After a successful year one of the Portland Track Festival, 2009 saw a ramp up of competition and improved performances. The most notable performance of the evening came in the boys high school mile. With a stacked field of talented prep middle distance runners, the pace was hot early, as fans toyed with the idea that maybe, just maybe, a sub-4 mile effort might happen.
While a sub-4 finish didn't go down, what did was one of the finest boys mile races in Pacific Northwest history. Future NCAA 1,500m champion Mac Fleet won with a furious kick to the finish, crossing the tape in a staggering 4:02.90. Following closely behind, New Jersey native and future NCAA 800m champion Robby Andrews finished in 4:03.49, while Alaskan Trevor Dunbar finished third in 4:06.65 and future NCAA 800m champion Elijah Greer finished fourth in 4:08.08.
While the boys mile drew plenty of national attention, the men's 5,000m race turned out to be quite a show, too. Ed Moran took home the victory in 13:43.50, leading a total of eight men under the 14 minute barrier. In 2008, the men's 5,000m was won in 14:20. On the women's side, Renee Metivier Baillie completed a distance double, winning the women's 5,000m in 15:50.12-15:50.17 over Allison Grace, only to come back and win the women's 1,500m in 4:15.95.
The late Sally Mayerhoff won the women's 10,000m in a terrific time of 33:14.14, while masters runners Jim Sorenson won the masters men's mile in a meet record of 4:14.47 and Trina Painter won the masters women's 3,000m in 9:56.26.
2008 | Results
The inaugural Portland Track Festival brought together the passionate track and field fan base of the city with a variety of open, youth and masters events. Future Olympic 100m finalist and silver medal relay winner Ryan Bailey, who also happens to be a Oregon resident) won the men's 400m dash in 47.01, leading into a third place finish in the 100m dash at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships.
Tony Young, competing for Club Northwest, won the masters men's mile in an outstanding 4:16.09, while Paige Rice edged Amy-Eloise Neale in a memorable girls 1,500m race, which saw Rice out lean Neale at the line, 4:40.58-4:40.61. Hammer thrower Travis Nutter won the men's event with a toss of 71.37 meters. He eventually finished the season ranked US#4 in the event with a best of 75.00.