Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

2008 Jared Bassett
Marshfield High School
University of Portland

An Essay by Jared Bassett

"To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift" - Steve Prefontaine

This quote is very meaningful to me because I am experiencing a gift in life right now, the gift of running. This wasn't always the case and I have learned from my past to never take it for granted.

There was a point in grade school when I couldn't run or play without pain in my ankles due to inflamed growth plates or Severe's disease.

The doctor had me stop all physical activity especially running and wear ankle braces to help the pain and prevent damage to my ankle joints. It was hard to sit and just watch the other kids play in the gym or run around the playground, because like any kid I wanted to be out there with them. When I had a growth spurt in middle school my growth plates began to close and the pain started to go away. Finally I was able to run again without pain and was able to enjoy it. This is when I chose to go out for cross country & track instead of football. I guess I was making up for lost time and didn't want to be standing on the sideline of some football field like I stood on the sideline during recess.

I realized what I had been missing out on all that time and how lucky I was to be able to run without pain. It made me want to never hold back whenever I ran, whether it was in practice or in a race. I still use that inspiration today as a high school senior. When I am doing a hard workout or racing and it hurts I just try and think about all the people in the world who can't run, knowing they would do almost anything to be in my shoes. Just thinking about that allows me to push on and to always do my best.

I believe we are all given a certain gift or talent in our lives, but it is up to us to find that gift and to do our best so we can reach our full potential. If we don't do our best, then we are just cheating ourselves out of life and what it stands for.

Pre wanted to get the best out of his gift and I would say he definitely achieved that. If we could all find our gifts and try to get the most out of them like Pre, then the world would be a better place.