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

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

There was a time when running the mile in four minutes was believed to be 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 each set out to break this barrier.Roger Bannister was a young English medical student who epitomized the ideal of the amateur...

DownloadRead Online
Title:The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It
Author:Neal Bascomb
Rating:
Edition Language:English

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

  • Pjackson

    What a delightful read. This book has it all--drama, action, suspense. One can not help but be inspired by the story of Bannister, Santee, and Landy as they struggle to acheive the first sub-4 minute mile. Bannister's story is perhaps the most engaging of all, as he achieved the distinction of breaking the mark first, while he was going to medical school and pursuing a life outside of athletics. In an age when records are regularly broken by professional atheletes who train hours a day and frequ

    What a delightful read. This book has it all--drama, action, suspense. One can not help but be inspired by the story of Bannister, Santee, and Landy as they struggle to acheive the first sub-4 minute mile. Bannister's story is perhaps the most engaging of all, as he achieved the distinction of breaking the mark first, while he was going to medical school and pursuing a life outside of athletics. In an age when records are regularly broken by professional atheletes who train hours a day and frequently misuse an assortment of performance enhancing agents, the story of the men chronicled here is most remarkable. Yes, today sub 4-minute miles are typical among elite athletes, but I doubt that many of todays stars would be where they are if they had to work full time jobs, etc. Bannister and company did what they did out of love for the sport and without concern for money. Neal Bascomb should be commended for bringing this wonderful story to light. It is carefully researched and eloquently written. Even those with zero interest in track and field will find this book of interest. I especially recommend this to youngsters in hopes that it will inspire them to achieve their goals even if their conditions for success are not optimal. Do yourself a favor and pick up this book--you will not be disappointed.

  • Bridget

    Oh my holy fudge, I LOVED this book. I savored every page and looked forward to reading it at every opportunity. At the same time, this wasn't one of those books where I could toss off a few pages while cooking dinner. I had to make sure I could really give myself to the reading of it, so I often had to wait until all other obligations were taken care of (see also: why it took me more than two weeks to get through it).

    That said, there is a litmus test for predicting one's potential interest in T

    Oh my holy fudge, I LOVED this book. I savored every page and looked forward to reading it at every opportunity. At the same time, this wasn't one of those books where I could toss off a few pages while cooking dinner. I had to make sure I could really give myself to the reading of it, so I often had to wait until all other obligations were taken care of (see also: why it took me more than two weeks to get through it).

    That said, there is a litmus test for predicting one's potential interest in The Perfect Mile, and it is this: take a look at the front cover. If you know who that is, and what he's doing, then I think you're going to love this book.

    Even if you don't know just from looking at the picture, if you've ever run competitively, or taken any interest in track, or if you have a good sense of running times vs. distances (in meters and yards/miles), or really, if you think you could enjoy the suspense of lots of footrace descriptions, The Perfect Mile is going to be a fun book for you to read.

  • Heather

    (At the end I'll give a list of places to go for race footage and other info relating to the subject for those who have already read the book and are interested in knowing more) I have no interest in sports, and of all the sports, I would vote for running as the least interesting, but I absolutely LOVED this book. The author does a wonderful job of building suspense even if normally it is something you couldn't care less about. How many times I have been on the edge of my seat waiting to hear wh

    (At the end I'll give a list of places to go for race footage and other info relating to the subject for those who have already read the book and are interested in knowing more) I have no interest in sports, and of all the sports, I would vote for running as the least interesting, but I absolutely LOVED this book. The author does a wonderful job of building suspense even if normally it is something you couldn't care less about. How many times I have been on the edge of my seat waiting to hear who was going to win or what their time was going to be (I listened to the audio version which was very well done). There were times when I arrived at my destination but didn't want to turn off the car because I had to find out what was going to happen. A very compelling, gripping book. There were times I cried and there were times I laughed, but it was the suspense that I remember the most. Part of the appeal of the book is the three men it is about. They were interesting and, for the most part, admirable men. I will say at first it was a bit confusing trying to remember who was who but after a few chapters I had them nailed down and it was much easier to follow. It probably would've been easier if I had been reading the book version and could have glanced back and reminded myself. I also appreciated the lack of anything vulgar in the book.The epilogue may be my favorite part of the book or at least it included my favorite story of the book. That was one of the times I cried, not because of something sad, but because of something very sweet and truly heroic.

    As a Christian I often found myself challenged to run my race the way they ran their races. I often thought of Paul's words about laying aside anything that would encumber us in our race when I read about them being so careful about the smallest things, the dirt on the spikes of their shoes, the weight of the shoes themselves, etc. It seems silly to us but these little things made a difference in their speed. I suspect that little things make a difference in our spiritual lives as well and want to be more like them in forgoing "innocent" things in order to run faster. But on the other hand I was made thankful that God isn't a harsh taskmaster and doesn't demand of me the things that their sport demanded of them- the little sleep, the brutal workouts, the sacrifice of relationships. Above all I'm thankful for the assurance that I will win my race, something they never could know. I may not run a perfect mile but I have a perfect Savior who ran it for me and through Him and His grace I will be victorious!

    Additional info:

    Footage of the barrier being broken:

    Bannister in 2012 carrying Olympic torch

    -

    2012-Olympic-torch.html

    Interview with Bannister

    Bannister and Landy’s race:

    Landy helps teammate and still wins:

    2005 Movie by ESPN

    1988 movie:

  • Amy Hansen

    A masterfully told story capable of engaging those who are interested in the story from a historical perspective, those who are interested because they love the sport, and everyone in between. The story is a great one of itself, but Bascomb does an excellent job of putting the story in its historical context and showing the characters of all the significant players, while truly keeping it a book about running. I loved how he gave stats for the training, and his method for describing each of the

    A masterfully told story capable of engaging those who are interested in the story from a historical perspective, those who are interested because they love the sport, and everyone in between. The story is a great one of itself, but Bascomb does an excellent job of putting the story in its historical context and showing the characters of all the significant players, while truly keeping it a book about running. I loved how he gave stats for the training, and his method for describing each of the significant races was phenomenal. The balance, cohesion, and straight-up awesome story telling in this book makes it one I will probably keep coming back to.

  • Judy

    The subtitle of this book is "Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It." This is the story of the race to break the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, but also the story of the three men who were all poised to do it first: Englishman Roger Bannister, Australian John Landy, and American Wes Santee. My husband and son (who was a miler himself in high school) would probably give this book a 5. We found ourselves groaning and cheering in the car as we listened to the audiobo

    The subtitle of this book is "Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It." This is the story of the race to break the four-minute mile barrier in 1954, but also the story of the three men who were all poised to do it first: Englishman Roger Bannister, Australian John Landy, and American Wes Santee. My husband and son (who was a miler himself in high school) would probably give this book a 5. We found ourselves groaning and cheering in the car as we listened to the audiobook on a recent trip. The sub-four-minute mile has been achieved about 1,000 times since the original breakthrough, including by both Bannister and Landy three months later in a head-to-head race, but a sentence from the epilogue of the book really summed up the reason Bannister's 3 minute 59.6 run was so astounding: "On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister, an amateur who trained little more than an hour a day, and for whom running was little more than a passionate hobby, achieved greatness on a cinder track he had helped to build in front of a small crowd, a handful of journalists, and a lone camera crew that had to be persuaded to attend." The same year he broke the 4 minute barrier, Bannister passed his medical boards and began practicing medicine. The book really highlighted for me the glory of amateur sports, something we don't really have any more in this day of high tech training. In addition, each of the three men was admirable and honorable in his own right, and we found ourselves rooting for each of them individually.

  • John

    I started my running career in high school about 2 years after Bannister broke the 4-minute mile. He was, of course, a great inspiration to all us middle-distance runners, but my real hero was Landy. The sportsmanship he demonstrated in the 1500 meters final at the 1956 Australian National Championships when he stopped to help the fallen Ron Clarke was an example I have never forgotten. Then for him to leap back into the race and win decisively after losing several seconds was one of the greates

    I started my running career in high school about 2 years after Bannister broke the 4-minute mile. He was, of course, a great inspiration to all us middle-distance runners, but my real hero was Landy. The sportsmanship he demonstrated in the 1500 meters final at the 1956 Australian National Championships when he stopped to help the fallen Ron Clarke was an example I have never forgotten. Then for him to leap back into the race and win decisively after losing several seconds was one of the greatest things I've ever seen. Bascomb's book covers these events in a very compelling way that brought back all the great memories and feelings of those days for me. I highly recommend this book to every one, but especially to those who have themselves run a mile race...at any speed.

  • David

    This is a well-researched account of the dramatic race to be the first man to run a mile in less than 4 minutes - a barrier once thought to be unbreakable. The author has created a very readable story, reconstructing conversations and documenting the feelings and emotions of those involved. The three main competitors - Roger Bannister of the UK, Landy of Australia, and Santee of the US - are all included in great detail. The book rambles a bit and occasionally uses pretty unimaginative prose. Bu

    This is a well-researched account of the dramatic race to be the first man to run a mile in less than 4 minutes - a barrier once thought to be unbreakable. The author has created a very readable story, reconstructing conversations and documenting the feelings and emotions of those involved. The three main competitors - Roger Bannister of the UK, Landy of Australia, and Santee of the US - are all included in great detail. The book rambles a bit and occasionally uses pretty unimaginative prose. But the descriptions of the races are detailed and gripping.

    I was surprised that "the perfect mile" of the book's title was not Bannister's run that first broke the barrier in 1954, but a later showdown between Bannister and Landy - also a fascinating account.

    Thanks to the wonders of Google, you can now search for

    "roger bannister video"

    and watch Bannister's first 4-minute mile, as well as the showdown with Landy. Also fascinating is the Wikipedia article on "World record progression for the mile run"

  • Brian Sweany

    As Usain Bolt captivated the world in London just as he had done in Beijing, my mind wandered to some of my favorite Olympic- and running-themed books. It is a genre that takes up nearly an entire shelf in my library and is perfectly book-ended by David Halberstam's AMATEURS and Christopher McDougal's BORN TO RUN. But one of the most underrated books on this shelf has to be Neil Bascomb's THE PERFECT MILE. Written before THE NEW COOL put Bascomb on the map, this book is to running what Laura Hil

    As Usain Bolt captivated the world in London just as he had done in Beijing, my mind wandered to some of my favorite Olympic- and running-themed books. It is a genre that takes up nearly an entire shelf in my library and is perfectly book-ended by David Halberstam's AMATEURS and Christopher McDougal's BORN TO RUN. But one of the most underrated books on this shelf has to be Neil Bascomb's THE PERFECT MILE. Written before THE NEW COOL put Bascomb on the map, this book is to running what Laura Hillenbrand's SEABISCUIT is to horse racing.

    Bascomb has a novelistic narrative voice not unlike Hillenbrand's as he weaves together the biographies of three amazing and strikingly different athletes. There's Roger Bannister, the Oxford-educated amateur sports-for-sports-sake archetype with his come-from-behind running style. There's his fiercest rival John Landy, the Aussie with the unorthodox training methods and a relentless wire-to-wire front runner. And lastly there's Wes Santee, the American, a tough Kansas-born farmer's son who history forgot. On May 6, 1954 one of them did what scientists had actually dismissed as beyond the scope of human endurance: running a mile in four minutes or less. Even as the 20th century wound down, this penultimate event was treated with a hallowed reverence; Sports Illustrated chose the four-minute mile--"the perfect mile"--as The Greatest Sporting Achievement of the Century.

    As I watched Bolt strut and pose for the cameras--another gold medal around his neck, another world record shattered--a part of me imagined the trio of runners from THE PERFECT MILE rising from the grave, tapping the towering Jamaican on the shoulder, and saying, "Four laps, Mr. Bolt, let's see who's the better man." Bascomb's earnest story will make you believe nothing is impossible.

  • JK

    starts perhaps a bit slow, but the writing of the record-breaking Bannister run and the Vancouver Empire games is brilliant and made my heart beat like I was watching it live and had something at stake

  • Juuso Nisula

    Heavy on race reports, light on training regimens, the book is suitable for the running aficionado with a soft spot for history (and lap-times), but probably not many others. The reader's (yes, I listened to the audio book) matter-of-factly voice fit the 1950s setting, but took away from the emotional side of the story.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.