For Matthew Crehan, running has always been a way of life. As a son of runners, Crehan’s mother competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and his father was also a running coach, in his own training, he was inspired by Steve Prefontaine’s story. In The Art of Running, Crehan, brings the story of Prefontaine (a middle and long distance American runner who competed int he 1972 Olympics and held American records in multiple track events but died suddenly in a car accident in 1975) to life through comic book illustrations. We spoke with the Crehan, for his inspiration and why he’s so passionate about telling Prefontaine’s story to a new generation of athletes.
iRun: How did the idea for a graphic novel, that’s really a stunning tribute to Steve Prefontaine, come to life?
MC: I have always been a fan of comic books, but it’s my wife who has the creative background. But after sitting in on her comic book writing group, I was inspired to write the first ten pages of this book, With this group of comic book fans, not athletes embraced the book in such a positive way, I searched out an artist. From the start, I wanted this book to be one that would not only intrigue athletics fans, but also appeal to comic fans.
Each chapter cover to have a different artist to work on it, and give it a different feel from the rest of the art work. I also wanted to include some extras such as early sketches and such to give a feel of how the book came alive.
iRun: Why do you feel that the next generation needs to know about him?
MC: I have been to the tracks and trained and competed and when I spoke with some of the younger athletes, they didn’t know who Steve Prefonatine was. While it could be said that’s because I’m in the UK, some didn’t know who Seb Coe, Steve Ovett, or even Paul Radcliffe was which is sad because they are all inspiring and amazing athletes. Although I know Pre’s story has been told before a number of times in different ways, I wanted to retell it to a whole new generation in new medium that has grown in popularity over the past number of year.
iRun: What is the main message your want readers to come away with?
MC: Feeling as inspired as I did when I first discovered Pre’s story. And to look at running. not only as a sport but also a work of art: to race and train with reason and purpose and to enjoy it all.
iRun: Where have you found your greatest learning in your running journey?
MC: For me the main take away from running is that life is like a race. But it’s not a race to see who can cross the finish line first but a race to take the greatest route. And in running as in life, sometimes you’re competing well and other times your injured and annoyed. It’s ins those dark times and the good times that follow that make both life and running all the more worth while.