Get access to everything we publish when you sign up for Outside+.
Phil LaVallee was a talented track and cross-country runner who earned a scholarship to run at South Dakota State. He finished in the top 10 nine times during the outdoor season and four times during the indoor season, nabbing two wins his freshman year: a 1:59.80 won the 800-meters at The Duals and a 4:00.64 won the 1,500-meters at Drake Alternative.
“He was determined. His dream was to go to the 2016 Olympics in Rio and run and I honestly think he would have done it,” his mother told her local news station.
The 19-year-old was on a mid-day training run at home in Monticello, Minn., northwest of Minneapolis, when a distracted driver killed him in 2013. (The driver has since been charged with criminal vehicular homicide.) Travelers Insurance made this beautiful tribute to LaVallee as part of its campaign against distracted driving, imagining what Phil’s life would have been like if he was still running today, and we can’t stop thinking about it.