The tips4running review of The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve it by Neal Bascomb

The quest to run The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It truly started after the 1952 Olympics. Author Neal Bascomb details this amazing adventure as Englishman Roger Bannister, Australian John Landy, and American Wes Santee chase after the sub four minute mile.

The book is a joy to read. I found this epic story very inspiring. Only one of the three runners was the first man under four minutes, but they all achieve tremendous feats. All of these three runners were amateur athletes. They were chasing this record because it was there to break. No huge endorsement deals or prize winnings would be given out to any of them.

Roger Bannister chases after the sub four minute mile while going to medical school. Wes Santee tries to break four minutes while attending Kansas University, where many times he has to run in relay races and doesn't get to run as an individual. John Landy attempts to break the four minute mark in Australia where they have little support for track athletes and terrible tracks for running fast times.

The book is broken into three parts. It begins with the 1952 Olympics. These three runners all come up with the idea here because of their success or failure at the games. The second part focuses on the attempt to break the four minute barrier. The third section is about an epic clash where two of these three runners meet in a head to head battle to see who is the best racer of the bunch.

I couldn't put the book down. Even though I already knew the results of these races, I was completely drawn in. When I was able to set it down, I would go running. The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It is the perfect book for a runner.

- Reviewed by David Tiefenthaler

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