Punk Running

Steve Prefontaine was the original punk runner. Instintive, visceral, gutsy. He put it all out there and his talent was such that he didn’t just win, he annihilated.

He held American records in seven different endurance running distances, from 2,000 to 10,000 metres, at the same time.

And he died as his MGB swerved and hit a rock on the way home from a party. He was 24.

He ran selfishly as all great runners do. He ran to optimise the talent he had and the potential given to him by his lungs, his heart and his legs.

But he also left a gift, a legacy which average runners like me can benefit from.

Because he ran in a way that was uncluttered by worries, unconstrained by ‘must do’s’ and ‘don’t do’s’. He ran free, by instinct, to win.

You get this sense from reading his quotes. They were not written for him by his sponsors, or packaged by his ‘people’. They reflected how he was.

‘Don’t let fatigue make a coward of you’

‘Most people run a race to see who is fastest. I run a race to see who has most guts.’

Fantastic. The first quote in particular is huge for me – easy to remember and marked for use in the final stages of any race. Thank you for that gift Pre. I didn’t know you but you’ve no idea how valuable this is.

For the first time I have a room in my house where I can run and listen to music. Steve Prefontaine’s picture will find a space on the wall. Because he links both.

A runner, well worth listening to.


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