Today, we celebrate the birthday of the legendary runner, Steve Prefontaine. Even though he died tragically at the age of 24, he held seven American records from 2000 meters to the 10,000meters. A notable performance was during the 1972 Olympics in Munich where he contended for the Olympic gold medal in the 5000 meter and finished 4th behind Lasse Viren. This was a gutsy and gritty run.
While not having the quintessential runner’s build, he compensated for his shortcomings by being a “front runner” and running with guts, intensity, and determination. These attributes highlight what it takes to be a champion, even when you do not start out as one.
A great athlete elevates his sport. Additionally, their performance transcends the sport and can be universally applied to different areas of life.
Below are a few of his quotes. As you read them, reflect on the following questions
- Which one of these do I like the most?
- Does it apply to more than one area of functioning in my life?
“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.’
“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.”
”It’s more than just a race, it’s a style.”
”It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.”
”To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”
“Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.”