with the twin cities marathon gaining on me rapidly (is it september already?), i was in the market for some weekend inspiration. so i rented prefontaine on sunday, which isn't bad for a sports movie where you know the ending. and the middle. and the start. still, it's a ripping yarn. a legendary icon, the hypercompetitive steve prefontaine (at left with coach bill bowerman) is the james dean of american runners.
i had a strong and inexplicable impulse to book an immediate flight to eugene, so that i could run a few laps hard at the u. of oregon's hayward field. either that, or i could go for a PR in the prefontaine memorial 10k next sunday in the icon's hometown of coos bay.
mr. prefontaine made some bold statements about running, some of which i still cite on my quotes page. wanting to see the real non-fictionalized deal, i located a few youtube clips of mr. prefontaine at hayward as a freshman and, later, in los angeles to tackle some tough milers ("rubbing the specialists' noses in it") on their own turf. these were cool, but didn't move me. so i checked out a couple modern-day milers, hicham el guerrouj and high-school prodigy alan webb. those dudes are scary fast, but (again) too smooth for me.
i was about to give up, when i came across this old clip of billy mills in the 1964 olympic 10,000 meters.* next time you run a 10k, just try to kick like ol' mr. mills when you see the finish line. i'll be thinking of mr. mills when i run on october 1. he's bumped hard off the track, boxed in on the last lap, and yet somehow found strength enough to finish the 10k like a sprinter. an oglala lakota (sioux), orphaned at 12 and raised on the pine ridge reservation, mr. mills is the national spokesperson for running strong, an organization that's all about inspiration.
* if the youtube clip is too grainy, try this one.