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Spokane's Podium to host national indoor track championships this weekend

Doug Nadvornick/SPR
Runners train at the Podium this week as they prepare for this weekend's national championship meet.

Winners in this meet may be headed to indoor world championships next month in Serbia.

This weekend, Spokane will host another national-level sporting event, the USA Track and Field national indoor championships. The venue is the two-month-old Podium, across the street from the Spokane Arena, with its 200-meter, hydraulically-banked track.

That track has already seen its first world record. Two weeks ago, the Nike Union Athletic Club’s women’s distance medley relay team set its mark at the Lilac Grand Prix.

Eric Sawyer from Spokane Sports wouldn’t be surprised to see another record broken this weekend.

“So many of these indoor track venues don’t really have room for spectators. They’re typically in a big box. We’ve got spectators in here. We’re going to have 4,000 screaming fans and anybody who’s ever been an athlete knows what happens when there’s a lot of people cheering you on. That pushes you to probably do your best," he said.

If athletes record fast times this weekend, Sawyer says word will get around and meet organizers will want to bring their events here. He says they also like The Podium’s location.

“The first question they always ask, how did you build a facility like this right downtown? To have it within walking distance of the downtown park, the restaurants, the hotels, in this complex of facilities with the arena and, soon, a new stadium across the street. That is a package that is very attractive to these governing bodies who are making decisions to bring events into a market like Spokane," he said.

Athletes who perform well this weekend may be selected for the U.S. national team that will compete at the world indoor championships in two weeks in Belgrade, Serbia.

One of the Northwest's most seasoned reporters is returning to his SPR roots. Doug Nadvornick will be heard frequently on KPBX and KSFC reporting on local news.