Customer Reviews for

The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 review with 4 star rating   See All Ratings
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  • Posted August 17, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Rating: 4 of 5 stars (very good) Review Sports records can gene

    Rating:
    4 of 5 stars (very good)

    Review
    Sports records can generate a lot of buzz – whether it is a seemingly unattainable mark, a star athlete is threatening a record, or if it is set at a famous venue, these events not only leave their mark in history, but may also have a very interesting story. Such is the case for May 6, 1954 when Englishman Roger Bannister became the first man to run one mile in less than four minutes. The barrier was seemingly never going to be broken until Bannister did so with the help of other runners who helped set his pace.

    This book covers that race and Bannister’s background and training leading up to that race in a very detailed and well researched manner. However, Bannister was only one of three elite mile runners of that time who were attempting to break the record. American Wes Santee and Australian John Landy were also training hard and racing in events attempting to shatter that barrier. It happened that Bannister did it first. Landy then broke Bannister’s record by more than a full second (a large margin in the track and field world) and the stage was set for the two of them to meet head on in the Empire Games held later in 1954 in Vancouver.

    Santee, however, could not compete in this race because of his commitment to the US Marines. His story was the most heartbreaking of the three, especially in Bascomb’s account of how Santee felt he could beat both of them by running a certain style of race. This was illustrated by Santee thinking of this strategy while watching the race in the studio and providing commentary. Santee’s rise to elite miler status and his subsequent events did make me think of a promising career derailed by circumstances that were mostly out of his control.

    Landy’s story is also interesting, especially those with his coach involved and his single-minded determination to break this record. Bannister’s story is the most well known of the three, especially that of the training leading up to the race as it was limited due to his medical studies. He did complete them as well, becoming a doctor soon after the “Perfect Mile” race.

    This book reads much like a mile run – slower at first, getting the reader accustomed to the three athletes and setting the pace. Then when Bannister takes his starting position in what would be the run that makes history, the book is a blur, just like the last lap for each of these runners – a fast paced story that the reader will have a hard time putting down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2013

    Good

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    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2009

    The Perfect Mile

    One of the best sports books I have read.

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    Posted August 23, 2010

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    Posted June 16, 2010

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    Posted June 24, 2009

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    Posted August 24, 2013

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    Posted November 17, 2009

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