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Steve Prefontaine - Legendary American Runner


I learned about Steve Prefontaine, the legendary American runner from Dave Winfield who quoted him at a seminar he conducted with Jeffrey Gitomer in Toronto.

The quote that Dave used was: "Somebody may beat me but they are going to have to bleed to do it."

Can you imagine someone with an attitude like that? Wow!

About Steve Prefontaine


Steve "Pre" Prefontaine (January 25, 1951 – May 30, 1975) was an American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics.

Prefontaine once held the American record in seven different distance track events from the 2,000 meters to the 10,000 meters Prefontaine died in May 1975 at the age of 24 in an auto accident.

Prefontaine, Jim Ryun,Frank Shorter, and Bill Rodgers generated considerable media coverage which helped inspire the 1970's running boom.

Prefontaine was often known for his mustache and his long locks of hair that parted as he ran.

The story of America's greatest running legend.

For five years, no American runner could beat him at any distance over a mile. But at the age of 24, with his best years still ahead, long-distance runner Steve Prefontaine finally lost. Driving alone at night after a party, Prefontaine crashed his sports car, putting a tragic, shocking end to the life and career of one of the most influential, accomplished runners of our time.

More than 20 years later, Pre continues to influence the running world.

From his humble origins in Coos Bay, Oregon, Pre became the first person to win four NCAA titles in one event. Year after year, he was virtually unbeatable. Instead of becoming one of the new breed of professional track athletes, Pre chose to stay amateur and fight for the adequate funding he felt American amateur athletes deserved.

A man of incredible desire and energy, Pre trained relentlessly. In his drive to be the best, he spurred others to do their best. As one racer said, "He ran every race as if it were his last."

But Pre not only touched runners; his exciting technique as well as his maverick lifestyle made him a favorite of the fans. A race with Prefontaine in it was automatically an event.

His brief but brilliant life - documented by author Tom Jordan - is the tale of a true American hero.

This is his story.

"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 than just a race, it's style. It's doing something better than anyone else. It's being creative."--Steve Prefontaine

Prefontaine Quotes

A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.

How does a kid from Coos Bay, with one leg longer than the other win races?

I run to see who has the most guts.

I'm going to work so that it's a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.

Something inside of me just said 'Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,' and I just took off.

Name Your Link

Inspirational and entertaining, PREFONTAINE is another acclaimed success from the makers of HOOP DREAMS. It's the true-life story of legendary track star Steve Prefontaine, the exciting and sometimes controversial "James Dean of Track," whose spirit captured the heart of the nation! Cocky, charismatic, and tough, "Pre" was a running rebel who defied rules, pushed limits ... and smashed records ... in an incredible against-all-odds quest for Olympic gold! Now a major motion picture, the triumphs and heartbreaks of this unforgettable champion will have you riveted from beginning to end!

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