May 29, 2010

May 30, 1975

He was the greatest long distance runner in American History and by far one of the most popular Track and Field athlete's of all time. His quest after Olympic glory fueled the American running craze in the mid-1970s. At the time of his death at the age of 24, Pre held 14 American Track and Field Records from 2,000 meters to 10, 000 meters.

For five years, no American runner could beat Pre at any distance over a mile. Then in May 1975 Steve Prefontaine died in a one car rollover accident.

"The Magic Was Gone Forever."
Rick Riley

When Steve ran a race you knew several things as an athlete and a spectator. The race was going to be fast. It was going to be guts race, even if he was running alone or unopposed. A race with Prefontaine in it was an exciting race for start to finish whatever the distance was.

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

Pre with his Oregon coach, Bill Bowerman. Bill later founded Nike.

Pre was indeed a rare individual. He made an impression on everyone he met. Today, runners young and old flock to Eugene to run the trails that Pre ran. Its that unwritten tradition that if you are a runner and you are in Eugene, that you run to Pre's Rock.

Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.
Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine, a sophomore at the University of Oregon, captures the entire nations imagination when he wins the national AAU 5000 meter championships. Shortly afterward he made the cover of Sports Illustrated magazine. Less then two years later, Prefontaine ran in the Olympics and lost to Lasse Viren of Finland whose entire team was later found to be blood doping.

Pre Lives - Nike Videos

The spirit of Pre lives in all of us runners.


  1. I have never heard of him BUT I am definately going to look him up as I always research things that I don't know. I like learning things!!!

  2. Wow! I didn't realize that he died so long ago, or that he had a 'rock' in Eugene (OR, right?). AZ bro lived there for years - nice town.

  3. I remember him. He was amazing.

  4. I started running when i was 10 years old in 1975. He made a pretty big impact on me.

  5. Shana: He was an amazing runner, way before his time.
    JJ: Yep, in Eugene.
    GKL: He sure was.
    Churlita: Come on, you weren't even born in 1975, were you? :^)

  6. Anonymous3:46 PM

    I didn't realize he was from Oregon. I'd run down to Eugene, but I'm too fat and lazy.