Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile

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Rodale Books, Jul 18, 2003 - Sports & Recreation - 224 pages

Sub 4:00: Alan Webb and the Quest for the Fastest Mile

For 34 long years, not one American schoolboy had run a sub-4:00mile. Indeed, nearing the turn of the millennium, the mile was dominated by African runners. American fans had long stopped caring about the sport of running.

Then, in January 2001, Reston, Virginia, high schooler Alan Webb gave American track fans a reason to tune in.

At the New Balance Games, he clocked a 3:59.86 mile, running the first U.S. high school sub-4:00 mile since 1967 and the fastest indoor U.S. high school mile ever. Then, just a few months later at the Prefontaine Classic, eh achieved the impossible. He ran a 3:53.46 mile, breaking Jim Ryun's 36-year-old national high school record. The race catapulted Webb to instant fame, earning him the title of "America's Next Great Miler."

After that successful season, Webb graduated from high school and enrolled at the University of Michigan. There, Webb would train under one of the country's most respected coaches and complete his workouts with a host of other sub-4:00 milers. The watch was on for the spring track season--when Webb would again run the mile.

In Sub 4:00, noted track writer Chris Lear begins you the story of Alan Webb's freshman track season. Lear artfully tells the story of a young track star, who, with big shoes to fill, must face the intrusions of frenzied track fans, the scrutiny of an ever-watchful media, the politics of the collegiate track world, and his own aspiration sto become the best miler ever.

Lear takes you on a journey--up close and personal--as Webb struggles with injuries, interpersonal conflicts, and the emotional highs and lows of racing. You will get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes view into the life of one of the country's most promising track athletes.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - tgraettinger - LibraryThing

Not really that interesting. Maybe the author got a poor break that Webb was injured for part of the time while he was "embedded". Nevertheless, you didn't really get much of a sense for what was in ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Boneillhawk - LibraryThing

Lear spent a year at University of Michigan following Webb, the first high-schooler to go sub-4:00 in years, and his teammates. As he did in previous works, Lear forged friendships with the team ... Read full review


01 Starting Over
02 The Agony of Defeat
04 The War Dog

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About the author (2003)

Chris Lear is the author of the critically acclaimed Running with the Buffaloes. A miler, he earned All-Ivy, All-East, and All-American honors and was a two-time cross-country captain at Princeton University. He lives with his wife, Shawn, in Boulder, Colorado.

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