No One Will Train Harder Than Me
One of the most well-known American runners in history was an athlete who didn’t live to see his 25th birthday. Steve Prefontaine’s influence on the world of track and field and what it means to reach for and attain excellence became oversized even before he lost his life in a tragic car accident nearly half a century ago. His talents and charisma captured the attention of media and fans from around the globe. He left his mark as much with his words as with his speed.
Prefontaine emphasized the importance of tenacity to create success, and he described his own determination thusly: “No matter how hard you train, Somebody will train harder,” he warned. “No matter how hard you run, Somebody will run harder. No matter how hard you want it, Somebody will want it more. I am Somebody.”
“Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it,” Prefontaine once quipped. He meant it. “It’s not who’s the best — it’s who can take the most pain,” he said after a particularly grueling race. Prefontaine convinced everyone who would listen, even himself, that personal sacrifice came with the desire to win.
His principal message was that winners always work harder and longer than others, a reminder everyone can benefit from. Prefontaine took that reminder one step further when he said, “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift.” Like many athletes, especially runners, Prefontaine believed many of his talents were innate, but that being born a runner didn’t give him the tenacity and perseverance to continually sacrifice to reach his goals. That was a decision Steve Prefontaine made every day. It is the same decision anyone can make, regardless of their talents. Tenacity, not talent, always makes the biggest difference.
Today's post reminds me of the 2003 movie Swimming Upstream. Good flick emphasizing perseverance over raw talent.
Since we’re communicating in a written medium, I have to pass along that “Me” int the article’s title should be “I.” English teacher.