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Last laps for a global Duck

Former Jefferson High standout Boru Guyota wants to share knowledge


by: COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF OREGON - Former Jefferson High track and field standout Boru Guyota, nearing the end of his University of Oregon career, hopes to take what he has learned in the classroom to his native Ethiopia.Environmentally conscious runners might be a dime a dozen in Eugene, but Ethiopia native Boru Guyota intends to walk his talk after he graduates from the University of Oregon this year.

The three-time All-American track standout from Jefferson High is a general social science major with a focus in globalization, environment and policy.

Guyota, who recently placed fifth in the Pac-12 800-meter run, says he has learned a lot from the environmental studies program at Oregon.

It “opened my eyes to human’s impact on the environment,” he says. “Maybe I can use my knowledge to help people back home.”

Guyota says he is most concerned with Ethiopia’s lack of care for another Eugene hallmark: trees. According to a United Nations report, Ethiopia could be completely deforested by 2020.

Guyota says people in Ethiopia cut down trees for fuel without realizing the detrimental environmental impact.

“I wish people were more educated about these issues,” he says.

Based on Ethiopia’s climate, Guyota says, solar panels would be the best substitute.

“People depend on trees because they don’t have technology to depend on,” he says. “I want to write a grant to Ethiopia and other developing countries to help build solar farms. I want Ethiopia to be sustainable.”

However, before he embarks on saving bark, he still has to finish school and the homestretch of his collegiate track career.

On the track, Guyota is gearing up for the NCAA West meet May 29 to 31 at Fayetteville, Ark., in an attempt to qualify for the NCAA championships June 11 to 14 at Hayward Field.

After helping the Ducks win the Pac-12 men’s title last week at Pullman, Wash., Guyota has another crack at his 800 outdoor personal best (1:48.01), set when he finished 14th in the national meet in 2012.

Guyota focuses solely on things he can control when preparing for races.

“My goals are to run fast and break my personal record,” he says.

Guyota’s indoor PR came in 2013 during the semifinals of the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Championships in Seattle, where he crossed the finish line in 1:47.42.

“This is my last time in college to compete, and I’m really motivated to compete well,” Guyota says.

by: COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY OF OREGON - Boru Guyota, a senior from Jefferson High, is wrapping up his collegiate running career as one of the Oregon Ducks top 800-meter competitors.At the Penn Relays in April, the Ducks’ distance medley team of Guoyta, Mac Fleet, Edward Cheserek and Mike Berry broke the UO record and clocked the seventh-fastest time in NCAA history. Guyota, a 5-10 senior, pulled his weight running his signature race, the 800.

“It was amazing. I was very fortunate to be part of the team,” he says.

Guyota says the team received a lot of fanfare at the relays.

“People were like, ‘Oh my God, this is Oregon. I want to take a picture.’ Everyone has history of Oregon in the back of their mind,” he says.

Guyota says that even after four years of traveling across the country for races, he is still overwhelmed by the diverse group of fans’ admiration for Oregon track and field athletes.

“This is something I will never forget,” he says.

Guyota says some fans have showed that they follow the sport, and the Ducks, closely.

“A few people have recognized me. I get asked by others, ‘Are you Boru?’ They say ‘I’ve been following you.’ I appreciate their support, that they’re cheering, and their care for an athlete.”

Guyota was never supposed to be in such a praiseworthy position. Growing up in Ethiopia, competitive running was reserved for the rich. Though he yearned for the track, because he grew up in a poor family, he never thought track and field was a possibility.

“I never would’ve thought I would become a runner,” he says. “I wish I knew I had the talent before I came to the United States.”

When Guyota was 16, he and his family fled to Portland to reunite with his father, whose political protests forced him out of the country. At Jefferson, his physical education coach saw Guyota’s potential and urged him to join the track team. By the end of his high school career, he was the best 800-meter runner in the state and was co-valedictorian of Jefferson High. At the U of O, he has further harnessed his skill in both the classroom and on the track.

Growing up, Guyota admired Ethiopian legend Haile Gebrselassie, an Olympic and world champion at 10,000 meters, now age 41.

“The way he runs, I always wanted to be like him but I never even tried running,” Guyota says.

Guyota has achieved in the sport through hard work and repetition.

“As long as you work hard, you can make your way up,” he says. “Learning through process is one of the best ways of learning things.”

And he hopes to continue his track exploits on a club team after college.

“I don’t know where I’m going at end of the season. If I join a club team, that would be great. Of course I’m naturally interested in the Oregon Track Club,” he says.

Naturally, too, Guoyota will miss his U of O teammates.

“I’m close with everybody on the team,” he says. “Unfortunately, the years go by fast, and here we are at the end of the year. We’ve become like a

family.”

Guyota says he will miss the unparalleled support he’s received from Hayward Field fanatics over the years.

“It’s just Hayward magic,” he says. “You get lifted by the fans, and the support pushes you through the finish line.”