No Category selected A first glimpse at PRE…and his mustache

    A first glimpse at PRE…and his mustache


    “You don’t have many ways to jump. You can be an athlete. Athletes are very, very big in Coos Bay. You can study, try and be an intellectual, but there aren’t many of those. Or you can go drag the Gut in your lowered Chevy with a switchblade in your pocket.”
    Steve Prefontaine

    VICKY: Alright folks, let’s get down to business. Back to the reason why we’re writing this blog. Let’s get back to Steve Prefontaine and our current book selection…PRE.

    GRANT: Finally! You finally finished it?

    VICKY: No.

    GRANT: For the love of gawd woman!

    VICKY: Listen, I’ve been busy with life.

    GRANT: Ok fair enough. Can you at least tell me what’s your first impression of the book?

    VICKY: First of all, every time I pick up the book or even think of PRE, all I can see is his mustache.

    GRANT: His mustache?

    VICKY: Seriously, it bothers me. I know it was cool back then or even now on men over the age of 40. But honestly, no man under 40 should EVER grow a mustache. That’s all I’m saying here people. Thank goodness times have changed and today’s runners don’t have mustaches. In fact, most of them don’t have much body hair. They’re like swimmers, they shave it all off nowadays. Anyways, that’s a topic for another day.

    GRANT: Tell me there’s something more to the first chapter…*sigh*

    VICKY: Yes, yes. The first chapter talks a lot about his roots. At page 5 for example, the author says:

    “To understand Steve Prefontaine it is necessary to know something about Coos Bay, Oregon. The town and the man find themselves similarly described: blunt, energetic, tough, agressive. Coos Bay is a mill town, a fishing town, a deepwater port. Longshoremen, fishermen, and loggers are not given to quiet introspection. Coos Bay endures its difficult life in the woods, on the boats and docks with a vociferous pride. The working men insist on a hardness in their society. Youth must be initiated, must measure up.”

    GRANT: That explains a lot of his quotes about running being a pure guts race and if somebody beats him, they’ll have to bleed to do it.

    VICKY: Exactly. You know how some people say you shouldn’t be defined solely by where you come from?

    GRANT: Yup. And I agree with that. In fact, I believe you are the only person who can truly define yourself. Not your family, your friends and certainly not where you come from.

    VICKY: Yes, except don’t ever forget where you came from. You might think that you’re smarter, richer or even better than those who still live where you have since left, but you’re not. I learned that lesson a long time ago. One thing I can say about PRE is that he was who he was because of where he grew up. He had this intensity about him that I think was ingrained in him from a young age. His high school coach, Walt McClure, says it best in the book:

    “Pre was the hardest worker in running that I ever had by far. This is the whole thing, his intensity.”

    GRANT: While I wait patiently for you to finish the book, I’m reading Bowerman and the Men of Oregon.  It’s a lot about the Olympics and about track and field. I’m getting this feeling that track and field runners are more intense than road runners.

    VICKY: I totally agree. In the book, the author gets right to the point from the beginning. There are a lot of numbers in the first chapter. If you are a serious runner, I think you’ll enjoy the book because you’ll be able to relate to his desire to conquer the two-mile record and so on. Personally, I’m not an intense runner so I feel like there is a lot of running data. I hoped that the book would be more story-like. Anyways, I will keep reading.

    GRANT: What do you think? Are track and field runners more intense than road runners?

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    Self-described “running nerds,” Vicky and Grant are co-workers who “spend their lunch hours at the nearest bookstore and will often be seen around the office getting excited about a new energy bar or running gadget.” The duo captured our attention with their unique (double) take on Running Blog Idol, pledging to address a host of different topics including Canadian running heroes. Their submission to our contest even included a sample vlog (available at, which they promise is “but only a mere example of the lengths we are willing to go in order to share our experience, knowledge, research and general ramblings.” Holy multimedia, Batman!


    1. I agree with Vicky. I picked up the book but couldn’t get past the first few chapters. I thought it would have more of a biographical, narrative field but it read like the results section of an academic paper: numbers, numbers and more numbers. Also, I have trouble relating to people who are willing to half-kill themselves to get faster.

    2. Too funny. I too had a hard time with the mustache at first (actually couldn’t stop staring at it), however, after watching the movie it kind of grew on me (kind of – in a complete distraction kind of way).

      I can see how the shorter track runs could be more intense – I might be able to try to kill it for minutes…oh who am I kidding…ha!

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