47 Quotes by Steve Prefontaine

Steve Prefontaine is well-known throughout the world due to his success as an American long-distance runner. In his entire life, he had altered seven national records. But he is no longer among us after passing away in a vehicle accident.

He used to have a birthday party on January 25, 1951, which was his actual birthday. And he spent his early years growing up with his entire family, including his mother, father, and two sisters. His youthful years made his lively personality apparent. Therefore, he was close to everyone.

He also played basketball and football in high school, but he only had sporadic opportunities to do so. Later, he discovered his running prowess and interest.

He gradually gets better at running, and now everyone considers him to be the best. But regrettably, an automobile accident on May 30, 1975, caused him to pass away permanently.

Here are some inspiring, thought-provoking, and humorous quotations from Steve Prefontaine that you should remember.

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

“Something inside of me just said ‘Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,’ and I just took off.”

“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.”

“What I want is to be number one.”

“Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”

“I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.”

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

“A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.”

“My philosophy is that I’m an artist. I perform an art, not with a paintbrush or a camera. I perform with bodily movement. Instead of exhibiting my art in a museum or a book or on canvas, I exhibit my art in front of the multitudes.”

“No one will ever win a 5,000-meter by running an easy two miles. Not against me.”

“When people go to a track meet, they’re looking for something, a world record, something that hasn’t been done before. You get all this magnetic energy, people focusing on one thing at the same time. I really get excited about it. It makes me want to compete even more. It makes it all worthwhile, all the hours of hard work.”

“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.”

“If he’s having a good day and running the right race, nobody can beat Frank Shorter at 10,000 meters… nobody except me.”

“Kids made fun of me because I was a slow learner, because I was hyperactive, because of a lot of things. Running gave me confidence.”

“Every once in a while I think, ‘What am I doing out here running, busting myself up? Life could be so much easier. The other guys are out having fun, doing other things, why not me?’”


“I’m the one who has made all the sacrifices. Those are my American records, not the country’s.”

“I’ve been in an international competition, and now I know what the big boys can do. You don’t go out and just run. There are an offense and a defense.”

“To hell with the love of country – I compete for myself.”

“Nobody likes tainted victories.”

“You probably choose x-country because you were too small to play football.”

“People say I should be running for a gold medal for the old red, white and blue and all that bull, but it’s not gonna be that way.”

“For me, running against the Poles and Czechs would be like running against high school kids. And I hate all this gung-ho, run-for-the-red-white-and-blue attitude that the AAU spouts. If that’s important to some people, fine, more power to ’em. But, damn it, I wish they’d leave me alone to do what I want to do – run against the best.”

“Did you ever run behind a slow pack? You get a trailing wind and a lot of body odor.”

“American athletes, especially distance runners, are at a big disadvantage against the rest of the world. We’re expected to live by all the rules, like not being able to coach, but still train and make our own living.”

“I know places you better speak low if you’ve been to college. Men will come across the room and cold-deck you if you hold your glass wrong.”


“I like to be able to go out to dinner once in a while. I like to be able to drive my MG up the McKenzie”

“I used to say, ‘Hey, man, what kind of a stupid question is that?’ to a newspaperman asking me heavy things right after a race when I’m still in an emotional state. Now I at least try to answer.”

“If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself. But if it’s a slow pace, and I get beaten by a kicker who leaches off the front, then I’ll always wonder, ‘What if…?’”

“I don’t care about being on television.”

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

“If anybody wants to beat me, let them run a world record.”

It’s not who’s the best – it’s who can take the most pain.”

“What I like most about track is the feeling I get inside after a good run.”

“This is my last year at Oregon, and it means a lot to me. The people have been great to me up there, so if I have to run three races to win the Pac-8 title, I’ll do it. Oh, sure, I’ll probably be tired, but the people shouting will carry me across the finish line.”

“I knew I had to show everybody that I could excel at something. But I didn’t know what.”

“What does it prove, running in the AAU meet?”

“If I want to go to Europe and get thrashed by the Europeans, that’s my business. Every race I lose I learn from and get tougher.”

“I decided that if I was going to continue in track, that I didn’t want to lose, that I wasn’t going to lose.”

“The AAU doesn’t care about the athletes; why should I care about them?”

“Coos Bay is a sports-minded town. You had to be an athlete to be somebody.”

“World records at 19. I don’t want that. Later, yes. And when it comes, I’ll learn to live with it, but it won’t be my first love.”

“Why shouldn’t I do what I want to do… I’m an American citizen.”

“If the Olympics come around, and I’m in shape, then I’ll compete. But I won’t be representing the United States; I’ll be representing myself.”

“It doesn’t feel that good when you’re ahead the whole way.”

“I have a positive mental attitude, and I think I’m divine, but I also think it takes a heck of a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”

“If you can make money with your talents, why not?”

“It’s hard to run a mile when you’re not a miler and to kick when you’ve led all the way.

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