Every December on the eve of the Winter Solstice North Medford High School hosts The Longest Night Mile, an event for runners of all abilities to race a mile, on the track, under the lights. Racing a mile on the track is something many of us haven’t done in years… some of us, decades. The race is a benefit for the local food bank, and the entry is simply 3 cans of food. An entry like that is a pretty great way to directly benefit your local community, especially in the winter months.
There is something gritty, great and pure about events like this. Maybe the race is great due to the fact that I haven’t put on spikes and run under the lights in 3 years, But I think there is something more. The race felt like an old school all comers meet. There were no ribbons, no t-shirts, no timing system; just 4 laps, a crew of runners, some spectators, and a coach with a stopwatch, in the rain.
Bill Bowerman attended and coached at North Medford High School and the Track and Field facility is named after him. I’m pretty sure this is an event that would make the Man grin.
There are a lot of reasons to go running. This is a reason to love running.
Start of Section 2 of the Longest Night Mile (this picture doesn’t quite do it justice as there was a good turn out, lots more people on the infield warming up and some folks in the stands.)
Section 2 of The Longest Night Mile. The horses of section 1 warming up on the infield.
Thanks to North Medford High School Track and Cross Country, Coach Piet Voskes, Southern Oregon Runners, and everybody who came out!