Steve Prefontaine Basics

Steve Roland Prefontaine was born January 25, 1951 and was killed in a car accident May 30, 1975.

Coos Bay Art Museum is only a couple of blocks East of the library at 235 Anderson Avenue. Their hours are short but they have the Prefontaine Memorial Gallery on the second floor. Besides photographs, medals, trophies and awards they also run the film, Fire on the Track: The Prefontaine Story, a documentary of his life. They are open Tuesday-Friday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday: 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., and they are closed Sunday through Monday and all major holidays.

Prefontaine’s childhood home was along Elrod Avenue. So walk along Elrod to get a feel for his childhood neighborhood and to see where many of his training runs began from. Souvenirs are also available from Huggins Insurance at 445 Elrod.

The 6.2 mile (10 K) Prefontaine race starts in the center of town near a monument of Pre and follows a few of his favorite routes, including past his home and ends at Marshfield High School.

Serious runners wanting to follow his training routes will want to turn right on 10th Street from Elrod for one of the challenging hills that Prefontaine used.

Marshfield High School is at 10th and Ingersoll. From the vantage point of the upper level parking lot, where the high school’s pirate mascot is painted, you can view the neighborhood where he grew up and get a view of the bay.

While at the high school be sure to visit the high school’s track where Prefontaine trained and raced.

Prefontaine’s funeral was held at the Marshfield High School Pirate Stadium.

Prefontaine was buried at Sunset Memorial Park Cemetery, 2450 Highway 101. Ironically the hill going up to his resting place and the view would have pleased him. Pre’s plot can be found a few dozen or so yards from the main building. A large bush was planted at the plot to make it easier for visitors to find it. There is also a brass memorial marking the site.

Lastly, visit the Steve Prefontaine Memorial located in the center of town. It’s located at the Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Visitor Information Center on Central Avenue, between the North and South bound lanes of Highway 101. It is the large cement monument next to the building and has a bronze plaque affixed to the front. A smaller wooden version lists the awards handed out at the annual memorial run.

The Prefontaine Memorial Run is held locally in September.  See the official website for information on registering.