ST. LOUIS – Missouri native and Olympic silver medalist Courtney Frerichs will compete in steeplechase this weekend in Eugene, Oregon at the 47th Nike Prefontaine Classic.
The meet takes place at Hayward Field on May 27 and May 28 on the University of Oregon’s campus. It is named after the legend Steve Prefontaine who set American records in many long-distance events. The Pre Classic is the only professional track and field Wanda Diamond League event held in the United States.
Frerichs is originally from Nixa, Missouri near Springfield, but now she trains mostly in Utah. She said she makes it home about two-to-three times per year to see friends and family, but, often, they come to her.
“They travel quite often to a lot of the races. They’re actually going to be at Pre,” Frerichs said.
She won a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics in August 2021. Even though her friends and family couldn’t attend due to COVID, they still supported her in every way they could.
“They had a watch party down in Nixa, I got to see a lot of the video footage from it. I called them as soon as I was able to get to my phone and talk to everyone. So I was really happy they were able to be together to watch and celebrate,” Frerichs said.
She got into steeplechase, a 3,000-meter race with 28 barriers and seven water jumps, as she was leaving the sport of gymnastics.
“I think shutting the door on my gymnastics career was really hard, but discovering steeplechase right as that was happening really helped me dive into becoming a distance runner, and I was able to use a lot of those skills that gymnastics taught me in this event,” Frerichs said.
She said she is looking forward to the opportunity to test herself at the Prefontaine Classic on Saturday, especially after she set a personal best of 14:48 in the 5k during her indoor season.
“Training has been going well and I’m really excited to see how I can build on last year,” Frerichs said.
She races on Saturday at 2:14 p.m.