EUGENE, OREGON – He’s known simply as “Pre.”
Steve Prefontaine is a God-like figure here in Eugene.
Nicknamed “Pre,” Prefontaine is arguably one of the greatest inspirational runners of all time.
Best known for being an aggressive runner, Prefontaine dominated the track scene in the ’70s while at the University of Oregon.
At the height of his career, “Pre” held the American records in five long distance events all while preparing for the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Unfortunately, Prefontaine never made it to Montreal.
Returning home from a party on May 30, 1975, Prefontaine swerved to avoid an oncoming car and hit a rock along the side of the road.
He was pinned underneath an overturned car and died at the age of 24, on the same street, Skyline Blvd., which he had run three times a week since moving to Eugene.
At the scene of the crash is a memorial for Prefontaine known as “Pre’s Rock.” Runners from across the world have left racing memorabilia at the memorial and is a popular spot for runners to pay tribute before a big race.
His spirit lives on in Eugene.
You can’t go 30 feet without seeing a “Pre” Nike t-shirt on folks who never had the opportunity to see him race in person.
Each year, the Prefontaine Classic, in honor of Steve, is one of the prestigious track and field events in the United States.
Long live Pre.