This was the perfect movie to give me an inspirational boost for next Sunday’s track meet. It was my second time to watch but it still did the trick. Released in 1998, Without Limits is one of the best films about the American track legend, Steve Prefontaine. The subject matter cannot be any more exciting and tragic, as far as track and field goes. Great story, good casting, and decent acting. If you have not seen this movie, I highly recommend you check your local library, DVD rental store, or buy at Amazon. Unfortunately, Netflix does not carry this in the States.
There are a number of great quotes in this movie. I will introduce some of my favorites here:
Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: Life. – Bill Bowerman
I’d like to work it out so that at the end, it’s a pure guts race. If it is, I’m the only one who can win it. – Steve Prefontaine before Munic 5,000m race
I don’t want to win unless I know I’ve done my best, and the only way I know how to do that is to run out front, flat out until I have nothing left. Winning any other way is chicken-shit. – Steve Prefontaine when arguing his front-running style with Bowerman
There may be men out there who can beat me but they’re going to have to bleed to do it. – Steve Prefontaine
I can endure more pain than anyone you’ve ever met. That’s why I can beat anyone I’ve ever met. – Steve Prefontaine
All my life, man and boy, I’ve operated under the assumption that the main idea in running was to win the race. Naturally, when I became a coach I tried to teach people how to do that. Tried to teach Pre how to do that. Tried like hell to teach Pre to do that. And Pre taught me. Taught me I was wrong. Pre, you see, was troubled by knowing that a mediocre effort can win a race and a magnificent effort can lose one. Winning a race wouldn’t necessarily demand that he give it everything he had from start to finish. He never ran any other way. I tried to get him to, God knows I tried… but… Pre was stubborn. He insisted on holding himself to a higher standard than victory. ‘A race is a work of art’; that’s what he said, that’s what he believed and he was out to make it one every step of the way. – Bill Bowerman
Of course he wanted to win. Those who saw him compete and those who competed against him were never in any doubt how much he wanted to win. But how he won mattered to him more. Pre thought I was a hard case. But he finally got it through my head that the real purpose of running isn’t to win a race. It’s to test to the limits of the human heart. That he did… Nobody did it more often. Nobody did it better. – Bill Bowerman
Oh, Pre… Why did you have to go so young?