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Best running quotes from Steve “Pre” Prefontaine

On this day 48 years ago, the running world lost one of the most iconic runners in American history

Steve Prefontaine

On this day in 1975, the running world lost one of the most iconic runners in North American history. Steve “Pre” Prefontaine from Coos Bay, Ore., became one of the biggest stars in the sport during his time at the University of Oregon in the 70s, where he held seven American records from the 2,000m to the 10,000m.

Prefontaine Memorabilia – Traces of Steve Prefontaine’s legacy can be found all around campus at the University of Oregon.

Prefontaine would have been 72 if he were still alive today, but his life was cut short on May 30, 1975, when he died in a car accident in Eugene, Ore. He was only 24. 

Prefontaine competed in the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich and was preparing for the 1976 Olympics with the Oregon Track Club when he died.

The American distance runner will be always remembered for his raw talent, racing style, iconic moustache and motivational quotes. 

Pre’s race tactics were often bold, running hard from the gun instead taking the sit-and-kick approach. That race mentality is evident in some of his most memorable quotes, which are as follows:

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

“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 an exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”

Photo: Steven Sutton/DUOMO/PCN

“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 a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.”

“Somebody may beat me, but they’re going to have to bleed to do it.”

“I don’t just go out there and run. I like to give people watching something exciting.”

Over the years, three movies were released based on his storied career: Without Limits, Prefontaine, and Fire on the Track.

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