C734 Running with Steve “Pre” Prefontaine


Steve Roland “Pre” Prefontaine was born on January 25, 1951 in Coos Bay, Oregon. His father Raymond, was a welder and his mother Elfriede,  a seamstress, both Mars ruled careers  He was 5 feet 8 inches tall & about  140 pounds.

Pre hit the running world  with his bronde hair flying in the wind behind him like winged Pegasus when he broke the 2-mile high school record with 8:41 seconds.  Not to be undaunted, he continued breaking records in his freshman year at the University of Oregon at Eugene and was the first athlete to win the track title four years running.

                                                                        Boasting Speed

An arrogant personality (Mars near the Ascendant) Pre  usually lived up to his boasts. He disdained the runners who lurked in the back waiting for a  sprint, and so set  very fast paces, trying to burn off the sprinters.   At the same time, in the horse racing world Secretariat the Derby winner, was doing the same at the race track, and the two became immortalized as “speed runners.”

Before the 1972 Olympic 5K, he claimed he would ” go out at world record pace, and then pick it up with a mile to go”. This did not happen, but instead sat on a slow pace for 2 miles and then began a sustained pace increase that forced the field to run the final 1,600 metres at 4-minute pace, but in the final straight he lost.

His full record is over here at the Sport-Reference site.

By the time he reposed, Pre was American record holder at every distance from 2,000 metres to 10K. He is memorialized by the Prefontaine Classic meet in Eugene. Two movies have been made of his life, and a short biography was written by Tom Jordan, simply entitled Pre. It’s available on Alibris for under $7.00.

                                                       Charting Pre

We have rectified Pre’s chart to 06 Aquarius, HS “Superior Creatures from another world.” Pre’s chart has Mars conjunct his Venus that is partile his first house cusp (remembering we using the Morins’s house system and so the ascendant and first house are not united), depicting his mother’s strong support of her only son, but also shows his strong independence  and love of freedom — that is picked up and redoubled elsewhere in his chart — as his mode of expression.

He has one opposition in his chart from Uranus at 07 Cancer to Mercury at 12 Capricorn that is Cardinal Negative because it is separating.  While it does depict his  his efficient ruling style, it also shows his brusque manner of dealing with people and how his arrogance was often offputting.

Uranus in the fifth, gave him a creative electricality that was almost a  halo around him and many chanted and wore t-shirts saying just “Pre.”  Uranus is  trine Mars in the first house at 04 Pisces  showing his “iron horse” durability and manual adroitness and dexterity.  This also bestows an exceptional tactile memory.

Pre also has a Cardinal grand trine in chart, showing running was his way of breaking away,  and while not elementally based does hint that challenging the running world at large was all part of his great thrill of experience.

Pre is like most runners we have reviewed is “air based” with little fire: the wind against his skin, his long hair flying helped with his “runner’s high.” In the Sabian Symbols his ascendant at 05 Aquarius is opposite that of Leo 6  warning  of “rock formations at the edge of a precipice.”

Unfortunately that was true as Pre died all too young at 24 drunk behind the wheel after having hit a curb on a hill and rolled over in his MG.  As would be the case with Neptune in the eighth house, it was shock to all, but his chart suggests, not to Pre.

We constantly vet our essays for completeness and factualness.  This was revised on February 27 2019.

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