Father Son Road Trip to Pre Memorial Run


On Friday September 16, 2016, my son, Gary, and I stared our " Father-Son Road Trip" from Ashland, Oregon to Coos Bay, Oregon. It is a three hour car ride over fantastic scenic beauty the whole way—forest, hills, mountains.

We started from Ashland because my son Gary Fanelli, is a Senior at Southern Oregon University. Gary is on the Track and Cross Country Teams there.

As we were finally rolling into Coos Bay on Route 101, we listened to a random Rock 'n' Roll radio station. The radio announcer says.: “If you are not doing anything tonight, you may want to head over to the Coos Museum for a Free Running Clinic put on by Gary Fanelli.  Fanelli  is a well known runner, a funny guy with a great message"...Well my son, Gary, thought that was just the coolest thing. I was pretty stoked myself.

The Seminar/Clinic was really FUN. I made it fun and made it more of a '”Sharing" then a clinic per se, as I got everyone involved and asked them about their running, racing, plans, and aspirations. I did initially touch on how I had known Steve Prefontaine and how I spoke with him a few times long ago...

Our hosts were  Linda Prefontaine and Chris Amaral.

Linda is Steve Prefontaine's younger sister, a great athlete in her own right, as Tennis Player and Coach, and also as a Professional Racquet Ball Champion.

Chris Amaral a great runner and race volunteer in Coos Bay, was a runner at Humboldt State in Northern California. He had competed in cross-country against my brother, Mike Fanelli (San Francisco State).

Gary and I pulled right into the Prefontaine's driveway as per Linda's instructions...we were amazed at this, even to see the house where Steve and Linda had grown up. Linda got us settled and showed us all around town. It was wonderful to be in Coos Bay.

 The next day, Saturday, September 17, was Race Day. The High School 5K went off first with about 200 runners starting in beautiful Downtown Coos Bay and finishing at Marshfield High School nearby. This is the high school where Steve Prefontaine was on the Track and Cross Country Teams, and had won so many races there.

 The 10K started shortly after the 5K. My son, Gary, and I were both to run the 10K. Linda Prefontaine had driven us over the course the day before. It was hilly, just as she had told me over the phone some weeks before. The course is along a route that Steve Prefontaine had run regularly when he was in high school.

I enjoyed the course as I like running on hills...into the first mile, there is a one-mile long uphill followed by rolling hills until the turnaround...and another one-mile long uphill starting near Mile Four. This was one hard course. I tried my best and was good on all uphills.

 Gary Fanelli Jr finished third in his age division, and I was overjoyed to have won first place in my age division.

When the races were over, Linda Prefontaine generously showed us all around Coos Bay and its environs. We went to Steve Prefontaine and his family's final resting place. This was a very special moment for my son Gary and me. 

Overall it was one spectacular and very special trip for the both of us.

If you want a great experience go out there next year for this wonderful race series and to remember Steve Prefontaine, one of America's best ever runners and Olympian (Munich, 5000m—1972).

Race Results can be found online: Steve Prefontaine Memorial Run 2016.


Top Three Men

1. Jared Bassett 31:43
2. Chris Platano 31:49
3. Cameron Kreuz 34:09


Top Three Women

1. Cora Wahl 42:32
2. Raina Rausch 42:57
3. Vickie Derby* 43:37

* Age 60!


A “Pre” Collage by Gary Fanelli