The Perfect Mile

By Neal Bascomb,

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

Book description

The Perfect Mile is the stirring account of their quest for sporting martyrdom, charting their journey through triumph and failure, along the way capturing the moment when Bannister broke the record in a monumental run at the Iffley Road cinder track in May 1954. It was a feat that became…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Perfect Mile as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Three runners on different continents simultaneously pursue the goal of running history’s first sub-four-minute mile. With little scientific research on distance running to guide them, they discover how to run fast and sustain it for four laps of a track through trial and error. While some of their training techniques have been discarded, others have since been validated by scientific research and are widely used today.

From Dennis' list on discovery & experience of running.

The four-minute mile was the sound barrier of running. No one thought it could ever be broken… until an English medical student proved otherwise. Though Roger Bannister’s dash in 1954 was the one to make the history books, The Perfect Mile explores the little-known story behind the effort to break that mark, not only by Bannister, but two equally talented runners, one American, one Australian. The book expertly interweaves the stories of those three runners and their quest for a record few thought they could beat. You might know the outcome, but the backstory is just as fascinating. 

From Nicholas' list on running history.

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