The tips4running review of Pre - The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine by Tom Jordan
After reading Pre: The Story of America's Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine
by Tom Jordan, I gained a new found respect for Steve Prefontaine. For those who don't know, Steve Prefontaine was the greatest middle distance runner in America in the 1970's, but he died in a car crash at the age of 24.
He is a legendary character as the book title states, but not just for his running times. It was the way he ran, and the way he carried himself off the track that made him such a legend. Every race he ran, he never cheated himself. It was an all out effort from the gun to the finish line. A lot of people know him only for his fourth place finish in the 1972 Olympic Games 5000 meter race, but he accomplished so much more than that.
Tom Jordan starts the book by describing Steve's unassuming running beginnings from Coos Bay, Oregon. He wasn't the greatest runner the moment he stepped onto the track. He had to work hard, and he probably worked harder than almost every other runner he ran against. From high school, he went on to college at the University of Oregon. In Eugene Oregon, he was almost invincible. He seemed to never lose a race on the track in his home state, no matter what distance he was running.
After his collegiate career was finished, Prefontaine trained, worked for a small company at the time called Nike, and ran some fantastic races in Europe. Unfortunately his life was cut short before he could claim any world or Olympic championships. The book captures the mystique surrounding Steve Prefontaine, as well as describes his punishing running style.
An example of what Steve Prefontaine was all about is best described in this quote from the man himself. "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."
- Reviewed by David Tiefenthaler
An Honorable Run Book Review
The Perfect Mile Book Review
100 Day Marathon Plan
Return from Pre book review to the Running Tips homepage.