Most of the movie was filmed at the University of Puget Sound campus in Tacoma, Washington. Peyton Field was redecorated to resemble Hayward Field at the University of Oregon.
Steve Prefontaine comes from Coos Bay, Oregon and emerges as one of the premiere distance runners in collegiate track and field.
After enrolling at the University of Oregon in 1970, where Bill Bowerman and Bill Dellinger become his coaches, Prefontaine proceeds to win three national cross-country championships and four consecutive 5,000-meter runs, breaking the U.S. record in the latter. "Pre" gains fame as an aggressive runner who likes to be out front from the start, rather than biding his time until a strong finish.
A bitter disappointment comes in the 1972 Munich Olympics, where after leading his event with only 150 meters to go, Prefontaine is passed in the stretch by three different runners and does not win a medal. Pre devotes himself to preparing for the 1976 Montreal Olympics following his college career, but on May 30, 1975, his small car flips on a road not far from campus and Prefontaine, only 24 years old, is killed.