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Fire on the Track:
The Steve Prefontaine Story

Order at Amazon.com

1995
58 Min + 210 Min Bonus
Biographical
Available on DVD

This 58 minute documentary film preceded two other motion pictures depicting the story of Steve Prefontaine, Prefontaine and Without Limits, and was originally broadcast on CBS on June 4, 1995. Here there are no actors. The script is provided by the research and rare images and footage of this great American runner as the story unfolds as recalled by those who knew him best. You will see Prefontaine run indoors, outdoors on the track, in cross country, in the 1972 Olympic games, as well as his last race at Hayward Field. There is also interview footage where Pre reviews his performance and forecasts into the future. Told in chronological order, this film begins in Coos Bay, Oregon and Marshfield High School where Pre's National 2 mile mark of 8:41.5, set in 1969, still stands. He joined the University of Oregon under the guidance of Bill Bowerman and for four years never missed a workout or race. During his collegiate years he set nine collegiate track records and never lost a race more than a mile in length. For a full listing of his accomplishments see the Official Athletic Site at the University of Oregon. The Olympic 5000 meter race is covered from many perspectives as well as his activism and ongoing record setting performances following the games. His life was ended abruptly in an automobile accident on May 30, 1975 and many people review the events and express the impact that Steve Prefontaine had on their life and running in America.

Fire on the Track was the winner of the 1996 New York Festival World Silver Medal. A perfect balance and tempo is maintained throughout the film with the use of narration, provided by Ken Kesey, the original soundtrack by Project One Audio, and blended still and moving images. Erich Lyttle is the director of this video and he is joined by Ken Kesey and Kenny Moore for the writing credits. Research was conducted by Bill Goetz and Tom Jordan (the author of the book Pre: The Story of America’s Greatest Running Legend, Steve Prefontaine). This film is made extraordinary by the use of the story tellers that include Pre's family, coaches, team members, rivals, girlfriends, sports writers, and more. The 55 people who bring this story to life are credited at the end of this film and include:

Ray Prefontaine Elfriede Prefontaine Neta Prefontaine Linda Prefontaine Bill Bowerman
Bill Dellinger John Gillespie Kenny Moore Roscoe Divine Phil Knight
Frank Shorter Jon Anderson Steve Savage Arne Kvalheim Knut Kvalheim
Pat Tyson Nancy Alleman Walt McClure Phil Pershian Jaakko Tuominen
Lasse Viren Dave Bedford Ian Stewart Brendan Foster Mac Wilkins
Jeff Johnson Dave Wottle Tom Jordan Wendy Ray Georgia Pope
Alberto Salazar Russ Francis Mark Feig Steve Stageberg Dave Taylor
Emiel Puttemans Mary Slaney Erich Segal Dana Carvey Garry Hill
Jon Hendershott Blaine Newnham Jos Hermans Larry Standifer Dick Buerkle
Tom Feuer Jeff Galloway Matt Davis Jack Ralston Steve Miller
Nelson Farris Keith Richard Brian Kanker Rich Clarson Don Dickover

If you want to obtain this film the best option is to visit Amazon.com and order in VHS or DVD format. This video has also been sold at the Prefontaine Classic track meet each summer. If you love the sport of running, and want to understand how Prefontaine made such an impact, then this is a must see movie for you. Put it at the top of your list for movies to own as you will watch it over and over and your friends will stand in line to borrow this one.

Quotes from Steve Prefontaine:
  • "If you are a runner your never completely satisfied unless you get a World’s Record."


  • "All I can say is I hope I can stay fit and if I run like this in Munich I’ll be pretty hard to stop."


  • "Running doesn’t pay your bills so you get to make a lot of sacrifices to be in amateur sports in this country."


  • "There’s a lot of factors that make me run. Probably the biggest one is that I enjoy it, or I acquired an enjoyment for it after so many years of running; it’s part of my life now. Another reason would have to be the Olympic Games and trying for a gold medal, and the third thing would have to be competition. I love to compete against people and not just track and field but almost anything."



How could Chambers Productions improve upon the #1 ranked running movie listed at this site? By releasing a 2 disc DVD Collector’s Edition, of course! Now is your chance to update from the 1995 VHS version to a superbly mastered DVD that was released in 2008. Since the main 58 minute film was featured above, the below content will be taking a closer look at the 210 minutes of Bonus Material that is broken into six sections:

Pre’s Trail: Covering a little over three minutes, in this segment you will be introduced to the Oregon Track Club and Chairman Geoffrey Hughes of the Trails restoration project. Learn about the 4.7 miles of running trails in Alton Baker Park that make up the Prefontaine Trail. Truly a community based project it is a location for recreational runners as well as a training tool used by the 2007 National Champion Oregon Duck Cross Country team.

In Depth Interviews: Taken from the 1995 filming, these are broken into 3 categories, with each candid conversation segmented and indexed into talking points. There are also extensive written biographies on each person from their date of birth, accomplishments, notable milestones, and current events and interests. Graphics, archival photos, and moving images are interspersed in each interview and you never know when you will be surprised by another piece of footage that had previously not been released. Keep your remote handy as you view these interviews as there is no "play all" function in this section and you will need to select each story individually.
  • Coaches/Nike: Bill Bowerman (with Kenny Moore & Geoff Hollister, 16:07 minutes), Bill Dellinger (11:30), Phil Knight (6:47), Geoff Hollister (7:11, who did not appear in the ’95 release), and Jeff Johnson (9:15).


  • Competitors: Jon Anderson (7:35 minutes), David Bedford (7:05), Dick Buerkle (6:14), Brendan Foster (5:19), Arne Kvalheim (5:57), and Ian Stewart (5:46).


  • Friends/Fans: Dana Carvey (12:29 minutes), Jeff Galloway (8:06), Kenny Moore (12:50), Alberto Salazar (6:06), Mary Slaney (10:35), Frank Shorter (11:24), Jaakko Tuominen (14:28), Pat Tyson (8:25), Mac Wilkins (9:59), and Dave Wottle (11:07).
History of Hayward Field: Lasting almost six minutes, this section provides a nice overview of the legendary coaching staff since 1904 with Bill Hayward, Bill Bowerman, Bill Dellinger, and Tom Heinenin. It also shows how this field has hosted several Olympic Trials, NCAA Championships, and the best competition each year on American soil, the Prefontaine Classic. Now "that is Track Town, USA."

Pre’s Personal Marks: See how many Collegiate, American, and other special milestones were captured during Pre’s career as well as the date and location of each of his personal best marks.

Quotes: Eleven quotes can be seen on screen in this section. Here are four of Pre’s most popular quotes that have each been captured in the posters seen below:
  • "Somebody may beat me, but they are going to have to bleed to do it."


  • "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift."


  • "I’m going to work so that it’s a pure guts race at the end, and if it is, I am the only one who can win it."


  • "A lot of people run a race to see who is the fastest. I run to see who has the most guts."
                 
Select the above posters if you want to order these items from Amazon.com.


Bowerman on Running Shoes: In this 12 minute segment join Bill Bowerman, with Kenny Moore and Geoff Hollister, as they discuss shoes and tell stories of shoemaking and the athletes that demanded the best. Learn about weight reduction, heal counters, the one piece toe, and the spike plate. Also hear stories about Prefontaine and Otis Davis in relation to each of their Olympic experiences. Bill always strived for improvement, whether developing shoes or track surfaces, and he states "Give him the best equipment you have."

This Collector’s Edition DVD set can be obtained directly from the official web site, FireOnTheTrack.com, or from Amazon.com. It is clear that the readers got it right when voting this the best running movie and with all these extras let the victory lap celebration now begin.