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The Perfect Mile

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  1. Introduction
  2. The life of Wes Santee
  3. Life under Coach Bill Easton
  4. Getting ready to run 'the perfect mile'
  5. Breaking the record
  6. Conclusion

Neal Bascomb's The Perfect Mile is a great book about three runners who all have the desire to accomplish the unthinkable; a mile in under four minutes. Wes Santee, John Landy, and Roger Bannister were all after this difficult task, each representing a different country. Bascomb follows the journey of each runner through all their difficult trials and thrilling victories.

[...] As Santee got his times lower, he had a much tougher time with trying to go for the four minute mile because Easton always wanted him to run for the team. He would often to have to run many of the relays and not even have a chance for a 4 minute mile. Come 1954, all three athletes were pushing the four minute mile as all three of them were within two seconds of breaking the record, but it was two seconds that seemed like eternity to them. [...]

[...] This scared Bannister because he knew he got the record first but now it was questioned whether he was really the best. The only way to know is if they raced each other. They race was set in Vancouver for the Empire Games. This was the biggest showdown of all time. The gun went off and Landy took an early lead with Bannister just a few yards behind him. Landy continued to push the pace, coming through the opening quarter in Landy soon had an eight yard lead on the second lap but Bannister hung in there. [...]

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