It’s been 42 years since Steve Prefontaine passed away in a car accident, but his legend lives on.
And while his presence is certainly felt during every track meet held at Hayward Field on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene, he’ll always remain one of the favorite sons of his native Coos Bay, Oregon. The small seaside village is honoring the American distance running legend with new murals being painted on a city-owned building in the heart of its downtown. Coos Bay city officials say the area long known as “Pedway” will now be known now as “Pre Way.”
Selection of the mural design was made by his sister, Linda Prefontaine, and the Prefontaine Foundation, along with input from the City Council, after renderings were presented by Erik Nicolaisen of Old City Artists. The goal is to finish the mural in time for the Prefontaine Memorial Run on September 16.
Steve Prefontaine started his running career at Marshfield High School in Coos Bay before going on to win seven NCAA championships and set numerous records at the University of Oregon. He placed fourth in the 5,000-meter run at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. At the time of his death in May 1975 at age 24, Prefontaine held every American outdoor track record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters.
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