The Perfect Amateurs? Roger Bannister, John Landy, Wes Santee

I recently read the The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It by Niel Bascomb and was very impressed by the character of Roger Bannister, John Landy and Wes Santee. In a world where sports have become equated with corporate sponsorship, doping and full-time careers, it is nice to be reminded of why I enjoy sports. The simple pursuit of excellence, competition and balance. Neal Bascomb's book does a great job of illustrating the essence of the amateur athlete. He details Olympic experiences, club and college track competitions and relentless training paralleled with the opposing regular every-day lives filled with work, exams, dating, family life and financial worries.

I was most impressed with Roger Bannister, the first to break the 4-minute mile, because he did it with his own concoction of unconventional training methods (at the time, it is called interval training today) while he juggled medical school, residency work and a post graduate research project on the "physiological effects of running.' Whew.

It's a good read and Bascomb does well in identifying and portraying the heart and soul of an athlete.

As a side note. Google Print, a beta site focused on making the content of books searchable on the web, is a very cool thing. My link above shows most of the books pages in a searchable image (non copy-able) format. Since the book I read was borrowed from a library and I have since returned it, I was unable to reference the actual book for this post. However, with Google Print, I was able to re-read sections of the books on the internet to refresh my memory.


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