If track spikes could talk...1973-Day 4 of 5
I love the history and heritage of products and want to share as I continue to go through the archives of products and documents in my office. The previous few days I wrote about spikes that my Dad wore in high school and college . Today I will share the story of my first (2nd) pair of spikes as an age group runner that hooked me into the sport for life.
I want to share some of the footwear that has been inspiring to me and my teammates at Nike. The products are designed to master the fundamentals of the sport.
Each evolution of the spikes I show this week evolve in functionality, materials and performance each year.
To honor the lost track and field season of 2020 I want to tell a short story about each of these products this week which would normally be hosting the Oregon State Track and Field Championships at Hayward Field.
I started running in 4th grade after realizing that my energy needed to be channeled toward something other than hanging out with a local delinquent after getting caught smoking on my way to school in 3rd grade. I am glad my parents steered me in that direction.
Running was a good energy outlet for me.
I was not a great team sport guy that could not stay focused on the baseball field or basketball court and just needed to push myself whether it be on a bike, skis or my feet. This led me to running.
Can you remember your first pair of athletic shoes? I can remember them like it was yesterday and love that I still have at least one of them in my possession.
I proudly raced in the Adidas Avanti leather spikes in cross country and track as a young age group athlete.
I ran a 5:12 mile at age 12 and started to compete nationally developing a passion for the sport.
I love that I am now leading an organization that has the same name as the one I competed for 50 years ago- Portland Track.
I placed 4th at the 1973 AAU National Cross Country Meet and 3rd in the Mile at the 1974 AAU National Track and Field Championships with a time of 4:49.3.
I recall that this shoe was given to me be a local store owner when he knew I was heading to the AAU National Track Meet in Pasadena California in 1974. I must have talked him into it after spending hours at his store drooling over these beautiful red pigskin shoes that matched my uniform and sweatsuit.
I ran in hiking boots when I started running for the Portland Track Club in the early 1970's. Once my parents realized that this was a good outlet for my energy that needed channeling they bought me some simple training shoes ( I believe they were Tigers) and my first pair of spikes. As I continued to show interest in this sport and my failure in other sports emerged the investment in running shoes and spikes seemed to be a good use of time and money to keep me out of trouble.
The sport of track and field including cross country created friendships and memories for life. The connection that I had through running with my Dad as well with my kids has been an amazing influence in my life.
These shoes were so well loved. I am impressed with the craftsmanship and condition of these shoes nearly 50 years after I competed in them. The only thing not original are the laces!
Looking at these shoes in detail I can still hear the cinders crushing under my feet as I wore them and then remember carefully cleaning them if a race was in the rain or mud. The pigskin uppers responded well to the elements and only improved over time.
After 1974 I went to the Nike Pre-Montreal and eventually the Vainqueur and beyond.
Here is the visual history of Nike's track spikes through the years.
I would get the request to check them out for designers and innovators to use in their presentations.
I want to celebrate at spike a day this week to honor all of those athletes out there not being able to compete and gather to celebrate the sport of track and field.
Day 5 of 5 will have a variety of track spikes and flats that happen to be sitting around my office at www.incubatoru.com and short stories about each of them and the athletes that made them great.
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