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48 MIN READ TIME

STEVE PREFONTAINE

Golden Boy - Prefontaine changed the face of American running forever
words Mick Collins photography Getty Images

To date, our Running Icon Hall of Fame has welcomed those who triumphed, whether over competitors, conditions or circumstances. Every one of its members has, in their different ways, pushed the limits of their potential to achieve extraordinary feats.

There has been sadness along the way, whether in the treatment of Jesse Owens or the hardships of Abebe Bikila, but perhaps none quite as tragic as this month’s Icon. Steve Prefontaine may well have had the raw, fearsome talent to achieve icon status in life - he certainly changed the public face of American running forever - only for tragedy to strike at the age of 24. A car crash in May 1975 ended Prefontaine’s life, but his influence and personality ensured a legacy which lives on today.

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About Men's Running

I started running in the mid 1980s. Ask anyone around at the time and they’ll tell you it was the heyday of British middle and long distance running. I got swept along by the Coe versus Ovett battle of the Moscow Olympics and the then addition of Cram for LA in 1984. Britons ruled the world and I loved every second of the battles, the highs, the lows, the medals and the media. These guys were my inspiration and I wanted to be them. They were the reason I started running and it was no surprise that my chosen events were 800 and 1500m. That I was best at these was just an added bonus. There are so many influential figures in our brilliant sport. Some are well known, others less so. So we decided to choose our favourites so that you could also get a little sprinkling of inspiration. Whether it’s Dean Karnazes eating pizza by the roadside or Ron Hill running every day for more than 50 years, we know there’ll be something for everyone. Read and get inspired and hit the road for your next run!

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Other Articles in this Issue


Men's Running
I started running in the mid 1980s. Ask anyone around
A RUNNER WHO WAS AS BOLD AS HE WAS BRILLIANT AND A BRAIN SURGEON BY DAY, HE WAS TRULY ONE OF ATHLETICS’ MOST UNIQUE AND LAUDABLE COMPETITORS WHO CHANGED THE FACE OF RUNNING FOREVER
CHARLIE NORTON WENT FROM THE BAKING TERRAIN OF THE MARATHON DES SABLES TO THE FREEZING HILLS OF THE YUKON. EVERYTHING WAS LOOKING FINE - UNTIL THE SNOW SET IN
HE WAS THE FIRST BLACK AFRICAN TO WIN AN OLYMPIC GOLD AND HE CHANGED THE FACE OF DISTANCE RUNNING FOREVER. BUT HIS GLITTERING CAREER AND LIFE WERE TO END IN A TRAGIC WAY
INSPIRED BY A BREAK-OUT AT ONE OF THE TOUGHEST PRISONS IN THE USA, THE BARKLEY 100 IS FIVE MOUNTAINOUS LOOPS OF RUNNING HELL. BUT JONATHAN BASHAM WOULDN’T EVEN LET GHOSTS GET IN THE WAY OF WINNING
DOMINATING DISTANCE RUNNING AT THREE OLYMPICS, THE FLYING FINN TRAINED HIMSELF, RACKED UP 22 WORLD RECORDS AND ALMOST ALWAYS LET HIS ACHIEVEMENTS ON THE TRACK DO THE TALKING
THE 1,250-MILE GREAT HIMALAYAN TRAIL TAKES TREKKERS AROUND FIVE MONTHS TO COMPLETE. SEAN BURCH SET OUT TO RUN IT IN A FRACTION OF THAT TIME, BUT HE WASN’T COUNTING ON THE LEECHES OR DRUNKEN LOCALS
HE’S THE MAN WHO BROUGHT THE GAMES TO LONDON AND HAS
WHEN TERRY FOX LOST A LEG TO CANCER AT ONLY 18 IT WAS THE START OF A HISTORIC JOURNEY THAT WOULD TAKE HIM ACROSS CANADA AND TO HIS DESTINY
TOM WHITE ALMOST LOST HIS FOOT IN A COLLISION WITH A DRUNK DRIVER AND THOUGH DOCTORS MANAGED TO SAVE IT, HE ACTUALLY OPTED TO HAVE HIS LEG AMPUTATED JUST SO HE COULD KEEP ON RUNNING
MATTHEW GOODMAN SET OUT TO NURSE OTHERS THROUGH A SIX-DAY DESERT CHALLENGE AND ENDED UP RUNNING IT HIMSELF. HIS IS A TALE OF TOENAILS AND TREATMENT TABLES
A MAN WHO HAS RUN EVERY DAY SINCE 1964, BROKEN RECORDS AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL AND CHANGED WHAT THE WORLD WEARS WHEN THEY GO OUT RACING IN THE STREETS
MEET THE AUSTRALIAN POLITICIAN-TURNED-RUNNER WHO DODGED CRAZED GUNMEN, DODGY DRIVERS AND ANGRY BEARS TO RUN FROM POLE TO POLE FOR A CAUSE CLOSE TO HIS HEART
DR ANDREW MURRAY TACKLED ILLNESS, INJURY, EXAMS AND A MIND-BOGGLING NUMBER OF MILES TO RUN FROM SCOTLAND TO THE SAHARA DESERT
THIS MONTH WE TURN TO AN ICONIC MOMENT IN RUNNING HISTORY WHEN THREE MEN STOOD ATOP AN OLYMPIC PODIUM TO SEND A MESSAGE THAT RESONATED AROUND THE WORLD
AN OLYMPIC CHAMPION WHO POSED THE GREATEST THREAT TO
HE MADE THE TRACK’S HARDEST EVENT LOOK LIKE CHILD’S PLAY, AND DID MUCH TO CLEAN UP THE SPORT HE GRACED. A CHAMPION, GENTLEMAN AND RUNNING GENIUS
IN THE KENYAN TOWN WHERE RUNNING ICONS ARE PRODUCED EN MASSE, THE MOST UNLIKELY OF COACHES IS REVERED AS THE LARGEST SINGLE REASON FOR THEIR SUCCESS
HE STARTED BY THROUGH THE NIGHT IN HIS BOXER SHORTS, NOW HE’S ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST FAMOUS AND ACCOMPLISHED ULTRARUNNERS - ENDURANCE PERSONIFIED