Steve Prefontaine

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Why keep writing all the books and essays about Americas greatest running legend, Prefontaine? Why can't we let Pre simply die? I would imagine these questions come up with many not associated with running. With this I hope to answer those questions.

Many people have never heard of the person Steve Prefontaine. These people are not ignorant; they just have not followed America's distance running. In distance running Prefontaine, better known as just Pre, is truly a LEGEND. The people that knew Pre could see the passion and desire in everything that he did.

Pre was born in Coos Bay, Oregon. When Pre was young he loved to play all sports. He was a gifted athlete from the beginning. His only problem was that he was smaller than the other kids his age. When he got into Junior High School he was directed towards running because of his size factor. Prefontaine loved the sport and decided to run cross-country at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay. When track season came around, Steve ran the distance races for his team. After losing one particular race he promised that he would not lose another in his high school career. Prefontaine did just that, he didn't lose a single cross country or track race including the state championships.

Accomplishing this task allowed Pre to go to college. He earned himself a full scholarship to the University of Oregon. The University is located in Eugene, Oregon not far from Coos Bay where he grew up as a child. While at Oregon, Pre ran as their number one runner from freshman year all the way through his senior year. Pre set numerous National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) records.

Ever since sixth grade I’ve been running long distance races but not until my freshman year did I learn about the legend of Pre. He has inspired my teammates and myself to give it all we have and to run a race not to see who’s the fastest but to see who’s got the most guts. Steve said a version of that in one of his great speeches. Any race he ran was better than I have ever done and better than I will ever do but I still strive toward his accomplishments and give everything I have.

Every race that I have run, he is in my thoughts and I strive and strive until I give it all I’ve got and that is never enough. I can always run a good race but it is most likely not with all my strength and ...

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...wenty years after his tragic death, he continues to inspire distance runners across the nation with his impressive times, great quotes, and unique running ability.

Let Pre die?

Still don't think he's that great? Check out some of his personal bests:

1 mile 3:54.6

2 miles 8:18.4

3 miles 12:51.4

6 miles 26:51.4

2000 meters 5:01.4

3000 meters 7:42.6

5000 meters 13:22.2

10000 meters 27:43.6

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."

-Steve Prefontaine

"Some people create with words, or with music, or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, "I've never seen anyone run like that before." It's more then just a race; it's a style. It's doing something better then anyone else. It's being creative."

-Steve Prefontaine
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