Prefontaine was often characterized by his uncommon grit, dedication, light heartedness, and his ability to seemingly overcome any obstacle or challenge that came his way. Prefontaine’s quote of “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the Gift.”, is the best and most appropriate
way to summarize his ability and personality. I take direct inspiration and reliability when it comes to this message because of the stress fracture I had in my femur during my junior year track season. Before I developed my injury, I took running and all the athletic abilities I had for granted. I thought that running would always be there for me, although I did try my hardest in every race and practice, I still didn’t quite understand the meaning of really pushing your body to the limits.
Heading into my junior year of track season, I had been in the best shape of my life and was ready to absolutely dominate the season. My leg had been giving me some considerable difficulty for a few weeks but I had ignored it to the point of where it was nearly impossible to run and just painful to apply any pressure on my femur. This injury ended up completely eliminating my track season and left me feeling hopeless and unstable about my future with athletics.
I began to read a book that my Aunt had given to me as a gift, “PRE, The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend” by: Tom Jordan. To read his story of upbringing and his relentless mental tenacity to push through the impossible, this really hit home with me and it finally showed me what I was missing inside of my running and I could analyze life along with sports in an entirely new perspective. With my time off from running, I still had the motivation for the next season of cross country and I trained tirelessly to return to the level of running I had previously been in. Recording hundreds of miles on the stationary bike alongside the track while my teammates trained near me and doubling down on workouts to give myself the whole body of an athlete. I came back into running with the mindset that any day could be my last for running, with an injury always around a corner or an opportunity lost in the midst of a few seconds. I told myself that everyday is gonna be the day that I work the hardest for my present and future self. Taking these new found values and implementing them into the team with every workout, brought us together and it really showed us all what we can do when we allow ourselves to realize what we have, and that we can’t go wasting it when we may never have the chance to exercise our wonderful Gift. Very few people in the world are granted these “Gifts” and they often sacrifice them without knowing that they may never have the opportunity to use them again. As an athlete and runner, I vow to continue and hold the truths of never sacrificing the gift near to my heart and soul. I will bring this ability to wherever life may take me, including my collegiate running at Western Oregon University, my future career, and in any situation that requires me to uphold this belief.