The Spirit of Prefontaine

May 1, 2013
When a place is being haunted, it is usually by a spirit. The lost soul of a person that was never able to find its resting place. Commonly referred to as “ghosts,” these spirits are trapped in time, with nowhere to go. They are constantly looking for help, someone to hold on to. Therefore, if I had the opportunity to “haunt” one place, during any time period and in any location it would have to be somewhere that I wouldn’t mind being stuck, a safe haven for my soul. The track that “Nike” built in 1972 when a man named Steve Prefontaine was on top of the world.

Ever since I started going on daily runs with my dad, I knew that I would be a runner in high school. Just the fresh air flowing through my lungs, and the thrill I gained from competition was enough to convince me. As I began to progress as a runner, the name “Pre” was circling the high school running world. After hearing many stories about this man they called “Pre,” I decided to find out for myself what this sensation was all about. At this moment, I began to watch his old videos, and read countless biographies about him. I started to become obsessed with Steve Prefontaine. However, it was not only his great successes in running that caught my attention, but his ego, his “I want to be the best” mentality.

Steve Prefontaine died at the age of 24 in a car crash. It is amazing to me that his popularity lives on among high school runners (like myself) today, especially since they were never able to witness him. All those stories and interviews, taken from over 40 years go, still live on today, and resemble the closest thing to witnessing the real “Pre.” For me to have the opportunity to haunt the track that he trained on in the early 70’s would be incredible, as I would be the only one of my kind to experience him.

I would also have the opportunity of running on the track at any time if I were to haunt it. I could join in on the practices, or even compete in the races. There would never be a dull moment for me. I would listen to the legendary coach Bill Bowerman, implementing his advice into my running. I would take in the smell of fresh “Nike Waffle Racers” being unboxed, and later watch them be tested on the greats that trained there, such as “Pre.” I would cherish every second I have, knowing that I am watching history in the making.

It is commonly known that the word “haunt” has a negative connotation, as if people are meant to be scared of ghosts or spirits. However, I have taken the activity of haunting into a new light, giving myself opportunity to witness an idol of mine, a man that redefined all the aspects of running: “Pre.”

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gotrunning? said...
May 20, 2013 at 5:47 pm
Wonderful article! As a fellow runner, I totally see your standpoint. Pre is one of my idols! One day I want to run as well as he did. 
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