The Perfect Mile

The Perfect Mile

Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It

Book - 2004
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There was a time when running the mile in four minutes was believed to be entirely beyond the limits of human foot speed. And in all of sport it was the elusive holy grail. In 1952, after suffering defeat at the Helsinki Olympics, three world-class runners set out individually to break this formidable barrier. Roger Bannister was a young English medical student who epitomized the ideal of the amateur -- still driven not just by winning but by the nobility of the pursuit. John Landy was theprivileged son of a genteel Australian family, who as a boy preferred butterfly collecting to running but who trained relentlessly in an almost spiritual attempt to shape his mind and body to this singular task. Then there was Wes Santee, the swaggering American, a Kansas farm boy and natural athlete who believed he was just plain better than everybody else.
Santee was the first to throw down the gauntlet in what would become a three-way race of body, heart, and soul. Each young man endured thousands of hours of training, bore the weight of his nation's expectations on his shoulders, and still dared to push to the very limit. Their collective quest captivated the world and stole headlines from the Korean War, the atomic race, and such legendary figures as Edmund Hillary, Willie Mays, Native Dancer, and Ben Hogan. Who would be the first to achieve the unachievable? And who among them would be the best when they raced head to head? In the answer came the perfect mile.
In the tradition of Seabiscuit and Chariots of Fire, Neal Bascomb delivers a breathtaking story of unlikely heroes and leaves us with a lasting portrait of the twilight years of the golden age of sport.
Publisher: Boston : Houghton Mifflin Co., 2004
ISBN: 9780618391127
0618391126
Branch Call Number: 921 BAN
Characteristics: xii, 322 p., [8] p. of plates :,ill. ;,24 cm

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A lasting portrait of the twilight years of the golden age of sport.


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green_tiger_1186
Jun 20, 2014

Sport is not about being wrapped up in cotton wool. Sport is about adapting to the unexpected and being able to modify plans at the last minute. Sport, like all life, is about taking your chances

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green_tiger_1186
Jun 20, 2014

Every morning in Africa, an antelope wakes up. It knows it must outrun the fastest lion, or it will be killed. Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest antelope or it will starve. It doesn't matter whether you're a lion or an antelope- when the sun comes up, you'd better be running.

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knitter2248
Jan 20, 2017

What a great read. Bascomb writes a wonderful story, backed by amazing facts. He interviewed all 3 runners, added significant history and keeps the reader totally engaged. Also adds some very thoughtful comments and facts.

Highly recommended. Don't know whether the print version has more photographs and an index.

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