“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”
I wouldn’t say I’ve always loved running. My true love for running came when I was a third grader at Blossom Gulch. There was a teacher there named Mr. Edgar who every year did a presentation about a famous American long-distance runner named Steve Prefontaine, or “Pre” as people called him.
Mr. Edgar talked about how Pre was a legend in the running world and an inspiration to people all around the world. He told us that Pre at one time held 8 American records, was a multi-time NCAA champion, ran in the Olympics in 1972, and then a few years later died in a car crash at the age of 25. But in those short 25 years Pre had changed the face of distance running forever. Mr. Edgar told us one more thing at the end of the presentation, he said that Pre was from Oregon, and not only Oregon but he was from Coos Bay and he even went to Blossom Gulch! Before Mr. Edgar ended the presentation, he said one final thing that I will never forget, he said “Pre changed the world with his running and became a worldwide icon, and he could’ve sat right where you’re sitting now…so why can’t you change the world?” At that moment I was hooked. Mr. Edgar had a Pre week at Blossom where some high school runners got to come down and run laps with us and tell us about running and Pre. I got to meet a boy named Jared Bassett who ran with me and told me about how Pre inspired him, Jared later went on to be a cross country state champion. Every year from that point on I ran the kids Pre 5k, and the 10k once. When I got into middle school, I was never any good at the ball sports so I went out for cross country, at that point I had found what I was good at and what I truly loved to do. I continued my running career from middle school into high school. My dad became the head cross country coach my freshman year and explained to us just how special it was to run on the track where he ran, to run the same routes and streets that he ran, and most importantly to wear the same skull and crossbones on our chest that he wore. Throughout Pre’s running career he said many inspirational things but the one quote that caught my eye and has continued to keep me going in running is “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”. This quote embodies what Pre stood for. He wasn’t the tallest, the strongest, or the fastest, but he was the hardest worker. He gave everything he had from the very start. He gave everything that he could from the sound of the gun until his chest broke the tape. And most importantly he never gave up. Every day in the classroom, on the track, or at home I live by this quote. Everybody has a gift, and for Pre it wasn’t just his running but it was his heart, and if at any point people start to give less than their very best, that’s when they lose. This quote has taught me to be the best I can be in every aspect of life, and to change people’s lives like the way Pre has changed mine. Just like Pre, I’m not the tallest, or the strongest, or fastest, but I will never give anything less than my best.