Medford Rotary Relays April 8, 2023

It is now one of the largest track meets in the area and will be celebrating its 59th year

By Mark Chirgwin, Medford

Medford Rotary Relays April 8, 2023 BOWERMAN FIELD


The Original meet began under the leadership of Head Coach Bill Bowerman in 1939. The meet was designed to mimic a similar track meet called the Hayward Relays in Eugene. The concept was simple. Every event would be contested as a relay with an overall emphasis on team. For the field events a cumulative distance or height would be calculated for each team. The meet would offer a local track meet to highlight local talent.

The first year of the event began small and quickly grew after the conclusion of the war. It became known as the Rogue Relays and soon the meet became a premier event. It was decided under head coach Dean Benson to divide the meet into two separate meets. The large schools would continue to compete in the Rogue Relays while a new meet was created called the “Little Rogue Relays,” for the smaller schools in the area.

The meet was handed down from one Head Coach to another. Bill Bowerman, Bob Newland, Dean Benson and Ron Toombs all had a hand in the development of the event. Around 1991 the meet was put on a hiatus due to the decline of the facility at the high school. It would lie dormant for 15 years until it was revitalized in 2006 with a new name and a new identity. While maintaining the historical relay events we included an open mile race to pay homage to an important track distance.

It is now one of the largest track meets in the area and will be celebrating its 59th year as a premier event in the Rogue Valley.

The event involves the work of around 57 Rotarian volunteers. This year 15 teams from Southern Oregon and Northern California will compete.

Medford Relays and Head Coaches

Bill Bowerman: 1939-1947
Bob Newland: 1947-1956
Dean Benson: 1957-1989
Ron Toombs: 1990-2000
Mark Hodges: 2000-2005 (meet was not contested)
Piet Voskes: 2006-2023

One Response

  1. I really enjoyed this year’s event. Is there a site where we might find the timed results of each event ?

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