Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

2011 Jake Lucero
North Bend High School
Southwestern Oregon CC

Guts

An Essay by Jake Lucero

"A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts..."

Competition and the determination to improve has been a major part of my life since I was a young child. As a kindergartener I wanted to be the greatest artist in the world. When Mr. Davenport, a professional artist came to my class and sketched a few drawings, I decided I needed to practice every single day during recess.

As I grew up, I lost my love for art and became a sports fanatic.

As an eight year old, I wanted to be the best second grade basketball player in the world. When I went to a tournament and met a kid that could dribble better than me, I came home and practiced the between the legs move for hours until I mastered it. Now that I am eighteen, I have come to the realization that what my Dad always told me was true; before I could be a real winner I had to learn how to lose.

This year when I had to give up football forever due to multiple concussions I finally understood what he has been talking about for all those years. A quote by Steve Prefontaine that my Dad has told me for years finally made sense when I went through this hardship: "A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts..." Steve Prefontaine said this when talking about competing ferociously without fear of losing. Although it wasn't easy, choosing to end my football career was the right decision and that took more guts than choosing to continue playing. I am thankful that I can now put all of my love and passion for football towards bettering myself as a Track and Field athlete. Every time I compete I want to leave everything on the track and know that I gave it my all. Steve Prefontaine knew that he was going to push himself harder than anyone else; he took his racing to a level most people can't fathom. This gave him the confidence and ability to put everything else aside and truly run, not to see who was the most athletically gifted, but to see who was willing to endure the most pain.

I think about the kind of competitor Steve Prefontaine was when I train or when I race. Pushing myself past my limits to beat someone who is more naturally gifted than I am is the inspiration I have taken from Steve Prefontaine and this quote.