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.
""Alan Webb's pursuit of the 4-minute mile as a high school senior ws one of the most compelling stories in recent U.S. track history. Chris Lear's insightful work picks up the tale where many dropped it, following Webb to college and exposing the sub-4:00 as not just a blessing, but a burden as well.""--Tim Layden, senior writer, Sports Illustrated
""Sub 4:00 provides an insightful look into the life of a high school phenom and the resulting pressures at the collegiate level. It focuses on two of the most important ingredients in successful running--health and the chemistry between coach and athlete.""--Suzy Favor Hamilton, Olympic miler
""It's rare to have an athlete like Alan Webb in our midst, rarer still to have an insider's look at the drama, uncertainties, training, and racing of a track season. Sub 4:00 gives us the highs and lows, triumphs and defeats of the season that ended with Webb's decision to turn pro. What John Feinstein did for collegiate basketball with a A Season on the Brink, Lear does with Sub 4:00. This dramatic story of personal and athletic growth is the literary equivalent of a 4-minute mile.""--Mike Sandrock, sports writer, The Daily Camera in Boulder, Colorado, and author of Running with the Legends