Portland Track Poised To Deliver What Track and Field Fans Want In This Time Of Uncertainty

April 2, 2020

The Hunt, RJ McNichols’ documentary about last September’s Portland 5000 is now available for viewing on YouTube.

April 2, 2020, Portland, OR: Portland Track president Michael Bergmann and his organization are ready for anything. Always have been. Even before the chaos caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

When Bowerman Track Club (BTC) coach Jerry Schumacher called last summer to see if Portland Track could produce an Olympic qualifying standard 5000 meter race for some BTC athletes, Bergmann and fellow board member Jeff Merrill jumped at the opportunity. And they hired filmmaker RJ McNichols to document that Portland 5000. Little did they know that unheralded Woody Kincaid would run 12:58.10—the fifth fastest time ever run by an American—or that Lopez Lomong and Matthew Centrowitz would run 13:00.13 and 13:00.39 respectively. All three BTC teammates were well under the Olympic qualifying time of 13:13.50.

Filmmaker McNichols quickly went to work editing his footage into a 22-minute documentary titled The Hunt, which has enthralled audiences at a run of public screenings across the country this winter. Now The Hunt is available for viewing online at Tracklandia’s YouTube channel—just in time to meet the demand of live-event starved track and field fans everywhere.

Ken Goe, the Oregonian’s track and field writer, noted the potential for The Hunt to fill the entertainment gap left by all the recent meet cancellations in a recent article, and followed up a few days later with a second column in which he said: “Portland Track is positioning itself to move into the void and provide opportunities for competition and for athletes to qualify for the U.S. Olympic Trials and the Olympics should the coronavirus pandemic ease.”

Goe went on to observe: “Bergmann views his organization as small and nimble enough to react quickly to changing circumstances, and noted that the Portland 5000 provides a template for future events. Portland Track could stage meets with small fields and only a few events that are contested before a handful of spectators and live-stream the competition to a broader audience.”

Bergmann was quoted as saying: We’re not tied into a huge organization or a physical structure,” We have flexibility to be able to respond to the need. This is forcing us to look at things like how do you create something different.”

While Portland Track would dearly love to hold the Portland Track Festival in early June, and the Stumptown Twilight Meet in mid-June, the current COVID-19 situation and ongoing postponement of events would suggest that dates later this summer may be more realistic. Planning continues, however, and Bergmann and his board will be ready for anything, be it another call from Jerry Schumacher, or an appeal from athletes who are  in need of opportunities to compete because their events were eliminated this year by Wanda Diamond League organizers.

About Portland Track:

Portland Track is the leading voice of the Portland, Oregon Track and Field community, bringing together fans, athletes and coaches to celebrate the sport. Through a variety of events, including our flagship Portland Track Festival, Portland Track is committed to elevating Track and Field in Portland and across the United States and North America.

For more information:

Michael Bergmann, Portland Track President

@portlandtrack on Twitter
@pdxtrack on Instagram