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Oregon Track Classic founder and track and field contributor Paul Banta passes away


Paul Banta, known for founding the Oregon Track Classic along with co-founding Oregon International Athletics, passed away at his home surrounded by his family Friday. He was 57.

A significant voice in the sport of track and field, Banta created the adidas Oregon Track Classic and built it from a strong regional meet to a nationally television stop on the IAAF Grand Prix Circuit before the meet eventually lost its sponsor in 2005. Additionally, he directed the Army Ten-Miler in Washington, DC, for three years, during which the race doubled in size.

He co-founded and managed Oregon International Athletics, a regional post-collegiate track and field team, developing the team into one of the nation's top clubs with 26 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers in 1992.  He led European competition tours and directed the Eugene Indoor, Brathwaite Memorial, and Oregon Indoor track meets. 

Banta was also the President of OSE Productions, Inc., a sports promotion and events management enterprise. He managed membership and annual conferences for Triathlon America and Running USA. He produced the weekly Endurance Sports Business Newsletter for industry professionals.

Banta was born on February 4, 1955, and attended Davidson College where he worked in the sports information office and developed his passion for track and field. He then moved to Oregon in 1980 to pursue a graduate degree from the University of Oregon. He is survived by his wife Judy Andres, three sons Christopher, Tommy and Peter, his mother Rosemary and siblings Peter, Sarah and Manon Banta.

A memorial will be held at Lake Oswego United Methodist Church, 1855 Southshore Blvd., Lake Oswego Ore., Wednesday at 2 p.m. (Pacific Time). In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in Paul's name to the Melanoma Research Foundation or the Lake Oswego School District Foundation.

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