Growing up in Klamath Falls, Oregon, Ian Dobson’s decision to land in Eugene as a member of the Oregon Track Club was an easy one. He was first drawn out of the state for college, where he had an amazing career for Stanford. He was an All-American nine times and made his first US National team his senior year in the 5k. He continued running and made the 2008 Olympic Team while a member of the Mammoth Track Club. It was here that he met his future wife, NC State Alum, Julia Lucas. Together they made the decision to leave California and head north. Their journey brought them to Eugene where they have become not only distinguished members of the Oregon Track Club, but also valued members of the community. They coach a running group open to the public every Thursday night and actively participate in club and neighborhood events whenever their schedule allows.
What is your best track memory from past meets at Hayward Field? And what was your highest finish here?
ID: Finishing 3rd at the 2008 Olympic Trials. It was fun in part because it was somewhat unexpected success. People like Bobby Curtis, Chris Solinsky, Bolota Asmerom, and Jonathon Riley were all in the race and running really well at the time. It was fun having a lot of local supporters, having grown up in Oregon. I had run at Hayward Field several times through high school but it never seemed to go well there. I was happy to finally break through that streak.
What most impressed you about the Trials in 2008?
ID: How much the entire town changes for Track and Field- all the billboards, the festival…Eugene is unique in that it is the perfect size to be completely transformed for a few weeks by the energy of the meet. I don’t think any other town could pull it off like that.
As an athlete, what do you foresee to be the biggest hassle/challenge in your experience in Eugene this summer?
ID: I worry about people (friends and family) coming into town at the last minute and asking to stay with us because everything is booked or too expensive. I don’t like not being able to help them out but I want them to know that this is business for me.
I also hope that local restaurants and businesses will respond to the crowds and schedule. I remember in 2008 after the meet, everyone would want to hang out and socialize when they were finished competing and there were a few places that stayed open (Villard Pub, no longer there) and had special hours so that people could do that. It was a lot of fun!
Aside from your competition, what are you looking forward to most about the Trials this summer?
ID: The weight off. So much energy and focus over the course of the last few years has gone into this one event. There are so many different ways it could go, when it is done, no matter the outcome, we will know and be able to plan the next step.
Do you think you will have an advantage living and training in Eugene with OTC? In what way?
ID: It will be nice to not have to rely on coaches and staff for transportation around town, to the race, etc. We will be able to warmup like a regular workout. There will just be more ‘controls’ for us than if we had to go away. And having the Oregon support and the community connections there cheering us on will be great.
Do you have anything/anywhere specific in Eugene that you would recommend others runners and spectators check out when they visit this summer? (restaurants, entertainment venues, parks, etc?)
ID: You should definitely go to Hideaway Bakery in town near Amazon Rexius. If you don’t mind exploring outside of town a little, check out the McKenzie River Trail. We also love the restaurant PRI (Pizza Research Institute).
Julia Lucas, as she crosses the finish line after her most recent victory at the Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago.