Steve Prefontaine

International Track Star - Running Legend

2014 Noah Langlie
North Bend High School
Oregon State University

An Essay by Noah Langlie

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

When I ran in my first race, I was in the fifth grade, I had never done a sport before, and I had no idea what I was doing. I decided to pick an event for which there was little competition, so I ran the 800m race for most of the meets. I had to walk for part of them, because I was slow and new. My transformation into a real athlete began at one of those races , where I was inspired by one of the sixth graders running the 1500m. The way that he ran with all he had during his race, and ended with his face deep red from exhaustion moved me inside. From that day on I discovered new meaning in my running. It was no longer about who was the fastest on the track, on the trail, on the field, or in the pool, it was now about learning where my limit was and figuring out how to push beyond it.

In recent years in track, I have learned what it takes to create the illusion that I am faster than others, but inside I know better. Everyone else has a chance at taking me down if they decide they want to badly enough, just like I know that I will always have a chance to beat those who at the moment are faster than I. Running, particularly in distance races, is more an exercise of the mind than the body.

For the first couple of years of my high school experience, I have been training on the school Cross Country and Track teams, but as my senior year of high school has proven to be far busier than previous years, I have been forced to train on my own. It has proven to be quite a challenge for me to stay focused on training, and has required far more of my longer term mental endurance, because there is no one to keep me on track. However, by winning my distance races so completely of my own initiative, I experience the far greater satisfaction that comes when a runner is willing to push himself to his very limit; something Pre himself, knew much about. Victory in a race really does depend more on guts than on physical ability.