“All of my life, man and boy, I have operated under the assumption that the main idea in running was to win the damn race. Actually when I became a coach I, I tried to teach people how to do that. I tried to teach Pre how to do that. I tried like hell to teach Pre to do that. And Pre taught me, taught me I was wrong. Pre, you see, was troubled by knowing that a mediocre effort can win a race. And a magnificent effort can lose one. Winning a race wouldn’t necessarily demand that he give it everything he had from start to finish. He never ran any other way. I tried to get him to. God knows, I tried. But Pre was stubborn. He insisted on holding himself to a higher standard than victory. A race is a work of art. That’s what he said. That’s what he believed. And he was out to make it one every step of the way. Of course, he wanted to win. Those who saw him compete and those who competed against him were never in any doubt about how much he wanted to win. But how he won mattered to him more. Pre thought I was a hard case. But he finally got it through my head that the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test the limits of the human heart. And that he did. Nobody did it more often. Nobody did it better.”
This was Bill Bowerman’s speech at Steve Prefontaine’s funeral. Nobody could have ever said it better.
Pre’s birthday was Wednesday, he was one of, if not the most amazing runner to ever live. And personally, if I had heros besides myself, then Pre would be my one and only. Pre didnt just run, he ran with purpose. He pushed like no one has ever pushed before. And he didnt give a shit about if he won or lost….he wanted to win. But winning wasnt the most important thing to him. So take some time out of your day to remember this magnificent creature. Im sure he’d still be running strong today.