Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

2011 Katelyn Romanko  
North Bend High School    
Univ. of Nevada, Reno

An Essay by Katelyn Romanko

Coming from Coos Bay, Oregon, it's very difficult not to know who Steve Prefontaine was. A legend, inspiring, admirable. These are just a few words to describe the late Prefontaine. He is one of the people to whom I attribute much of my passion for not just running, but racing. "To give anything lass than your best is to sacrifice the gift" is one of his famous, brilliant quotes by which I live not just my running life, but my academic life as well.



When it comes to running, it is so unfortunate to me when I know that someone, including myself, didn't run as well as he or she could. Whether it was in practice or in a race, what Steve Prefontaine says is so true. If you do not put forth all your energy and run as well as you possibly can, then you have wasted and squandered your God-given gift. That energy is lost, gone forever, and it can never be taken back. This quote can pertain to both academics and athletics. You can either utilize your gift with as much effort and heart as possible, see the maximum results in grades and race times, or you can give a half-hearted effort and see the satisfactory results. The choice is yours. Stepping up to that starting line or beginning an exam, you better have your oughest and most determined attitude ready in order to succeed, and give NOTHING less than your best. If the race or test doesn' go as planned, then you shrug it off and prepare yourself for the next, but at least you'll know that on that day, you used your gift and you crossed that finish line no faster than what the ending results showed or you received the grade you deserved. That is a justified reason to be proud of a race or score no matter if you placed first or last, or received the highest or lowest grade in the class.

Steve Prefontaine seems like he was a man of few words, but when he spoke, all should have listened because what he had to say was extremely wise and to the point, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift". So simple, but a quote to which all athletes and students can relate. Most importantly, if they truly use their gift, it is impossible to fail.