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Track Town Fitness promotes running and walking in Eugene

Historic Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus.

EUGENE, Ore. - Early Sunday mornings, rain or shine, hundreds of Oregonians gather at historic Hayward Field for the chance to run as one.

They are all a part of the new community driven running and marathon training program called Track Town Fitness.

"We're cheering. We're excited," participant Kathryn Young said. "More and more people show up every week. It's great!"

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Participants of all ages and all fitness levels receive top-notch training from Oregon track coach Vin Lananna.

Lananna greets the group with an enthusiastic "Good nice day, exciting day. Thanks for showing up!"

This simple program allows people to choose between running, walking, or running and walking.

Lananna said more people have joined since the free training began in September.

"I think that's the best part of it," participant Mark Vaneckhout said. "It's a great family event and it gets people of all ages out and exercising."

Lananna teaches proper run/walk techniques, like posture, arm movements, and foot stride.

"That is huge. It's great," Young said. "It actually has improved my running tremendously! My foot stride, my posture, gives me things to think about when I run. It's fantastic."

Eugene resident Kathy Pyfer does the run with her friends and said the community motivates each other.

Lananna's motive is to keep the community moving - and have the most fit city by 2021.

"It's one thing for, you know, to have all of the great elite athletes, which of course I'm excited about doing that and doing the, coaching the Olympic team this summer in Rio," Lananna said. "But it's also just as important to connect with the community and give back to the community that has given so much to the sport of track and field."

New participants are encouraged and welcome every week. Track Town Fitness is helping train runners for the big Eugene half marathon on May 1.

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