Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

2012 Courtney Greif
North Bend High School
Southwestern Oregon CC

An Essay by Courtney Greif

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

There is no better feeling in the world than the way I feel immediately after finishing a challenging cross country race. My breathing, heavy and in gasps, barely being able to stand up straight, the extreme exhaustion in my bones and muscles, and knowing, no matter what my time shows, that I gave my best effort throughout the entire race and finished leaving nothing else inside of me. To give anything less than that would be wasting everything that I had worked towards. As Steve Prefontaine once said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." Since sixth grade, when I first started running, I realized cross country was the sport for me, and I have been giving my absolute all, my heart and soul, to running ever since.

Having the ability and body type to be a runner is a gift from God that I wouldn't dare take for granted. I feel that in order to truly live up to my potential, I must work hard at all times, not only in meets and races. I am dedicated in the off season of cross country, and then push myself to my limit during the season. That feeling and emotion that runners get when they are crossing the finish line, is one that many do not understand. People will say that it's an awful sensation, but a true runner knows that it is the feeling of hard work that just paid off.

Lessons learned from running have helped me outside of the sport as well. It has transferred to my school work, as I have enrolled in numerous college classes during high school and always put forth my best effort in every course I take. The other benefit that comes from using this gift is the enjoyment of the people I run with and the places I get to see while running. My teammates in cross country and track are like a family to me, and I love spending time with my father when we run together. I would never want to sacrifice the gift of running, and I plan to use it to its fullest potential. For as long as I am physically able to be a runner, you will see me on the streets using the gift and giving my best.