Race day in the maximum-security Oregon State Penitentiary welcomes outsiders

Running News

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Looking for a unique race to run? Head to this maximum-security Oregon State Penitentiary.

You heard me right – prison. This fabulous story by Oregon Public Broadcasting follows one of around twenty “outside” citizens who have come to race with about a hundred inmates in either a 5K or 10K – laps around the prisons recreational yard. .

The race is held monthly at the prison and the wait list is four years long.

Steve Prefontaine had a hand in creating the program the 1970s, with the goal of helping inmates cope with incarceration and rehabilitate themselves.

Todd Gulley inmate and running program coordinator at the prison says he hopes the race shows people what prison life is like.

“We’re programming,” Gulley says to Oregon Public Broadcasting. “We’re going to college. We’re running races. We are working jobs.”

Runners don’t leave this race with any swag – no tech tshirts or post-race bananas, but still, demand is high. Only 150 inmates can participate at a time. For an inmate to qualify, they have to have at least 18 months clear conduct.

“Running around this track, chasing whatever you’re chasing, there is a way of putting it behind you,” inmate Robert Goggin tells Oregon Public Broadcasting.

Maybe Orange is the New Black will let us go for a run on their set. My money is on Crazy Eyes.


One thought on “Race day in the maximum-security Oregon State Penitentiary welcomes outsiders

  1. I heard an interview of the woman who plays Crazy Eyes on EW radio, and apparently she has a track background and auditioned for the role of the college track star on OITNB.

    I love this idea. I wish they did it near me on the east coast.


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