Middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds has been trying to do his part to promote the sport of running and no race is closer to his heart than an 800-meter race. The two-time U.S. Olympian and 2013 world championships silver medalist will be gunning for a shot a chance to run in the Olympics later this summer in Rio de Janeiro, a feat that will require a top-three finish in the event at the U.S. Olympic Trials on July 4 in Eugene, Ore.
On July 5, Symmonds has helped upped the ante at the fifth annual Springfield 800 road race, an 800-meter race down Fifth Street in Springfield, Ore. Symmonds approached Dole Packaged Foods about the idea to raise the stakes in order to attract top middle-distance running talent. The fastest male and fastest female to complete the course in the Run Gum Elite races will each receive a check for $5,000 courtesy of Dole.
“Our goal is to put together a diverse group of athletes to race in this unique event,” said Symmonds, the co-founder of Run Gum. “I used to travel across the globe for a chance to race for $5,000. We are excited to put cash in the pockets of athletes already in town for the Olympic Trials.”
The Springfield 800 is part of a community event called Run Springfield Night and will have multiple divisions including walkers, youth, masters, open and, new this year, a Dog 800 for pet owners and their dogs. The event will begin with a street festival beginning at 4 p.m. with races set to begin at 5:30 pm.
“On behalf of Dole Packaged Foods, we are proud to support what Nick means to the sport of track and field and the example he provides to live a healthy, active, and vibrant life,” said Matt Ingram, Director of Dole. “We are excited to support this event and help fund the dreams of America’s top middle-distance talent.”