Letter From "Pre" Captures
A Moment In American Running History
On April 9,
1975, Steve Prefontaine wrote a letter to a relatively unknown,
but up and coming runner named Bill Rodgers. Within weeks of that day Rodgers
would burst on to the world stage of running, and Pre would tragically
was at the height of his running career. He had set every American
record from 2,000 to 10,000 meters. He had competed in the
1972 Munich Olympics at age 21 and was preparing for the Montreal
Olympic Games in 1976.
Pre was also
an employee of an athletic shoe company started by his college
coach, Bill Bowerman. That company was Nike.
was an unemployed school teacher and a talented runner who had
returned to competition after a two year layoff. Bill had run
well in college, breaking 9 minutes for the 2 mile, but he had
lost motivation and drifted away from running after leaving school.
His return to running had brought him to the edge of world-class
even his coach by finishing 3rd in the World Cross-Country Championships
in March of 1975 in Rabat, Morocco. Bill's impressive performance
caught the attention of many in the running community, including
Pre, and led to the following letter.
graphic was not part of the original letter, we just thought it