To Give Anything Less Than Your Best…

21 07 2009

If someone says, ‘Hey, I ran 100 miles this week. How far did you run?’ Ignore him! What the hell difference does it make? The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles...’  -Bill Bowerman, former Coach of the Oregon and U.S. Olympic track teams, inventor of the waffle sole and one of the founders of Nike.


Yesterday was a big day for me, for I was able to watch a wonderful movie in HBO and the title,  Without Limits – a true to  life story of Steve Prefontaine, a running legend and 1972 Olympian.

Without Limits was produced by Tom Cruise and told from the point of view of Bill Bowerman with Dellinger as a minor character and Mary Marckx, who was a previous girlfriend of Prefontaine while at Oregon.  Bowerman is played by Donald Sutherland and is given guru status.

Steve Roland “Pre” Prefontaine (January 25, 1951 – May 30, 1975) was an American middle and long-distance runner. Prefontaine helped inspire the “running boom” in the 1970s along with contemporaries Frank Shorter and Bill Rodgers. Born and raised in Coos Bay, Oregon, Prefontaine was primarily a long-distance runner who once held the American record in the seven distance track events from the 2000 meters to the 10,000 meters.[1]

Personal records

Distance Time Date Location
1,500 meters 3:38.1 28 June 1973 Helsinki, Finland [2]
2,000 meters 5:01.4 9 May, 1975 Coos Bay, Oregon
3,000 meters 7:42.6 2 July, 1974 Milan, Italy
5,000 meters 13:21.87 26 June 1974 Helsinki, Finland
10,000 meters 27:43.6 27 April 1974 Eugene, Oregon
1-mile (1.6 km) 3:54.6 20 June 1973 Eugene, Oregon
2 miles (3.2 km) 8:18.29 18 July 1974
3 miles (4.8 km) 12:51.4 8 June 1974 Eugene, Oregon
6 miles (9.7 km) 26:51.8 27 April 1974
5000 meters (H.S.) 13:52.6 1969

On May 30, 1975, returning from a party and after dropping off a friend and distance champion Frank Shorter, Prefontaine was driving down Skyline Boulevard, east of the University of Oregon campus near Hendricks Park, when he swerved his 1973 MGB convertible left to avoid crashing into an oncoming car and hit a rock wall along the side of the street. The overturned car trapped Prefontaine underneath it. The first witness on the scene, who lived nearby, heard two cars, and then a crash. When he ran outside he was almost run over by the second car. The witness found Prefontaine flat on his back, still alive but pinned beneath the wreck. After attempting to lift the vehicle, the witness ran to get help. By the time he returned with others, the weight of the car had crushed Prefontaine’s chest, killing him.

The Eugene Register-Guard called his death “the end of an era”. By the time of his death, Prefontaine was a popular athlete who, along with Frank Shorter and Bill Bowerman, is credited with sparking the running boom of the 1970s. His life story has been detailed in two films, 1997‘s Prefontaine and 1998‘s Without Limits, as well as the documentary “Fire on the Track”. An annual track event, the Pre Classic, has been held in his honor since 1975.

By the time of his death, Prefontaine held every American track and field record from the 2,000 to the 10,000 meters. Over his career, he won 120 of the 153 races he ran (78 percent). Prefontaine liked to say, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift.”

The memorial features a plaque with a picture of Prefontaine that reads:

For your dedication and loyalty
To your principles and beliefs…
For your love, warmth, and friendship
For your family and friends…
You are missed by so many
And you will never be forgotten…

In Prefontaine’s hometown of Coos Bay, there is the Prefontaine Memorial, featuring a relief of his face, records, and date of birth located at the Coos Bay Visitor Center.

In 2008, 10 memorial plaques were laid along the Prefontaine Memorial Race route, the former training grounds of Prefontaine. 

Each year, on the 3rd Saturday of September, over 1000 runners engage in the Prefontaine Memorial Run, a 10k run honoring his accomplishments.[7]

In 1983, Prefontaine was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame, where several exhibits showcase his shoes, shirts, and other memorabilia. Nike used video footage in a commercial titled “Pre Lives”, advertising his spirit for their product. On the thirtieth anniversary of his death, Nike placed a memorial in Sports Illustrated, and aired a television commercial in his honor. -wikipedia

I cannot control my emotion when his untimely death came. He’s only 24 and at the very peak of his career, preparing for another Olympics. He was well loved by his fans and I admired him most when he lost in the 1972 Olympics placing only 4th, and he was about to give up his love for running, when Bowermann, his coach pressed him to continue…

Let us not forget this man, though he died more than 30 years ago,he remains an icon to many.

God be Praised!




9 responses

21 07 2009
Katherine Hoppe

Hi there,

I ran across your blog through a google alert i have set for Prefontaine. After i read the last paragraph, i thought perhaps you would enjoy a letter we have featured on our website that Pre wrote to his high school coach 2 months before his death. Its not a well publicized letter and it gives a bit of personal insight. Hope you enjoy it. (scroll towards the bottom and you’ll see a link to it:

Katherine Hoppe
Coos Bay – North Bend Visitor & Convention Bureau

22 07 2009


Good day !!!


Just want to share just 2 days ago MON & TUES i watch the MOVIE WITHOUT LIMITS … why 2 days?

i Just watch it in “you tube” hahaha kaya poh dalawang araw hahaha

pinagtyagaan ko poh khit mabagal ang streming hehehe …

God bless PRE !

what i like about the moving 2 things :

coach always say something like find …running … & you will find another past time … life ( medyo kulang pero those watch the movie alam nila =) )

& also it not about winning to test the human limits .. but to test the LIMITS of the HUMAN heart 😀



22 07 2009

Hi Katherine…I’m so elated because you visited my blog. I only knew Pref upon watching that movie. I will definitely visit that link. Thank you and God bless.

22 07 2009

You’re right Marky, watching a movie like that will keep us motivated to increase our mileage and adhere to great values in life such as perseverance and humility. Thanks a lot for visiting. God bless.

22 07 2009



got it the quotes of BIll( BILL BOWERMAN) ! 🙂

very intersting quotes from a legendary coach of PRE ! 😀

Just want to share for the readers & the visitors who always visit your site like me 🙂

That the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test to the limits of the human heart.

Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life.



Hope i can run with you sir RUNFORCHRIST someday … train me also not only in running but how i can share more about Chirst …

26 07 2009

Hi Marky_Mark…I’m glad to share with you not only my running skills but my faith as well. I do have some ‘ trainees’ in this blog which I’m not mentioning. The kingdom of God is real, but it’s out of this world. God bless.

27 07 2009

Sir can i be 1 one the trainees ?

i do no bible, no breakfast, no run, policy 😀 …

maybe you can send me so bible verse more to read everyday … i know that your a busy man on your training … & hopefully so tips on running also

in my last 3 run 5K i have a short bible verse at my back people can read & remind them about the love of jesus christ …

hope i can be 1 of the trainees thank you sir



28 07 2009

I’m very much willing to help you Mark, in my own little way. God bless.

30 05 2010

Very nice site!

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