47 Quotes by Steve Prefontaine

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Steve Prefontaine is a popular name worldwide as he was a long-distance running star in America. He had fixed seven national records in his entire life. But he is no more with us as he died in a car accident.

He used to celebrate his birthday on the 25th day in January of the year 1951. And his childhood spent with his entire family, i.e., father, mother, and his two sisters. His exuberant nature was noticeable during his formative years. So everyone was close to him.

Moreover, he had a football and basketball team in high school, but he got a chance to play rarely. Later, he realized his strength and interest in running.

Slowly, he begins to run better and better, and today he is regarded as the champion. But sadly, on 30th May 1975, he left this earth forever in a car accident.

Steve Prefontaine on the top
Steve Prefontaine on the top

Here are some of the funny, philosophical, motivational, and many more Steve Prefontaine quotes that should be followed.

“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.”

“Something inside of me just said ‘Hey, wait a minute, I want to beat him,’ and I just took off.”

“A lot of people run a race to see who is fastest. I run to see who has the most guts, who can punish himself into exhausting pace, and then at the end, punish himself even more.”

“What I want is to be number one.”

“Over the years, I’ve given myself a thousand reasons to keep running, but it always comes back to where it started. It comes down to self-satisfaction and a sense of achievement.”

“I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it.”

“Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it.”

“A race is a work of art that people can look at and be affected in as many ways they’re capable of understanding.”

“My philosophy is that I’m an artist. I perform an art, not with a paintbrush or a camera. I perform with bodily movement. Instead of exhibiting my art in a museum or a book or on canvas, I exhibit my art in front of the multitudes.”

“No one will ever win a 5,000-meter by running an easy two miles. Not against me.”

“When people go to a track meet, they’re looking for something, a world record, something that hasn’t been done before. You get all this magnetic energy, people focusing on one thing at the same time. I really get excited about it. It makes me want to compete even more. It makes it all worthwhile, all the hours of hard work.”

“Some people create with words or with music or with a brush and paints. I like to make something beautiful when I run. I like to make people stop and say, ‘I’ve never seen anyone run like that before.’ It’s more than just a race, it’s a style. It’s doing something better than anyone else. It’s being creative.”

Steve Prefontaine quotes on success
Steve Prefontaine quotes on success.

“If he’s having a good day and running the right race, nobody can beat Frank Shorter at 10,000 meters… nobody except me.”

“Kids made fun of me because I was a slow learner, because I was hyperactive, because of a lot of things. Running gave me confidence.”

“Every once in a while I think, ‘What am I doing out here running, busting myself up? Life could be so much easier. The other guys are out having fun, doing other things, why not me?’”


“I’m the one who has made all the sacrifices. Those are my American records, not the country’s.”

“I’ve been in an international competition, and now I know what the big boys can do. You don’t go out and just run. There are an offense and a defense.”

“To hell with the love of country – I compete for myself.”

“Nobody likes tainted victories.”

“You probably choose x-country because you were too small to play football.”

“People say I should be running for a gold medal for the old red, white and blue and all that bull, but it’s not gonna be that way.”

“For me, running against the Poles and Czechs would be like running against high school kids. And I hate all this gung-ho, run-for-the-red-white-and-blue attitude that the AAU spouts. If that’s important to some people, fine, more power to ’em. But, damn it, I wish they’d leave me alone to do what I want to do – run against the best.”

“Did you ever run behind a slow pack? You get a trailing wind and a lot of body odor.”

“American athletes, especially distance runners, are at a big disadvantage against the rest of the world. We’re expected to live by all the rules, like not being able to coach, but still train and make our own living.”

“I know places you better speak low if you’ve been to college. Men will come across the room and cold-deck you if you hold your glass wrong.”


“I like to be able to go out to dinner once in a while. I like to be able to drive my MG up the McKenzie”

“I used to say, ‘Hey, man, what kind of a stupid question is that?’ to a newspaperman asking me heavy things right after a race when I’m still in an emotional state. Now I at least try to answer.”

“If I lose forcing the pace all the way, well, at least I can live with myself. But if it’s a slow pace, and I get beaten by a kicker who leaches off the front, then I’ll always wonder, ‘What if…?’”

“I don’t care about being on television.”

“I don’t just go out there and run. I like to give people watching something exciting.”

“If anybody wants to beat me, let them run a world record.”

It’s not who’s the best – it’s who can take the most pain.”

“What I like most about track is the feeling I get inside after a good run.”

“This is my last year at Oregon, and it means a lot to me. The people have been great to me up there, so if I have to run three races to win the Pac-8 title, I’ll do it. Oh, sure, I’ll probably be tired, but the people shouting will carry me across the finish line.”

“I knew I had to show everybody that I could excel at something. But I didn’t know what.”

“What does it prove, running in the AAU meet?”

“If I want to go to Europe and get thrashed by the Europeans, that’s my business. Every race I lose I learn from and get tougher.”

“I decided that if I was going to continue in track, that I didn’t want to lose, that I wasn’t going to lose.”

“The AAU doesn’t care about the athletes; why should I care about them?”

“Coos Bay is a sports-minded town. You had to be an athlete to be somebody.”

“World records at 19. I don’t want that. Later, yes. And when it comes, I’ll learn to live with it, but it won’t be my first love.”

“Why shouldn’t I do what I want to do… I’m an American citizen.”

“If the Olympics come around, and I’m in shape, then I’ll compete. But I won’t be representing the United States; I’ll be representing myself.”

“It doesn’t feel that good when you’re ahead the whole way.”

“I have a positive mental attitude, and I think I’m divine, but I also think it takes a heck of a lot of blood, sweat and tears.”

“If you can make money with your talents, why not?”

“It’s hard to run a mile when you’re not a miler and to kick when you’ve led all the way.


Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah
Sanjib Sah is an engineer and content writer passionate about sports and athletics. With a background in engineering and a love for all things active, Sanjib brings a unique perspective to the world of sports writing. Whether he is covering the latest trends in sports technology or sharing tips on improving your game, Sanjib's words are always rooted in a deep appreciation for players' hard work and dedication everywhere. In his free time, you can find him hitting the courts or hitting the trails, always looking for new ways to challenge himself and improve his skills.

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