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Digital Subscriptions > Men's Running > April 2019 > STEVE PREFONTAINE

STEVE PREFONTAINE

THE POSTER BOY FOR THE WORLD-WIDE RUNNING BOOM AND A MAN WHO MADE HIS RIVALS GIVE EVERYTHING TO MATCH HIM, ONLY TO BE TRAGICALLY CUT DOWN BEFORE HE HAD THE MEDALS TO CONFIRM HIS UNDOUBTED TALENT
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!