May 6, 2014


A lot has been written today on Bannister's first sub 4 mile, 60th anniversary that it is. An amazing accomplishment, to be sure, and still a celebrated barometer, even when 3:43 is the present world record. Still, it's startlingly fast. Over 15 miles an hour. That's not jogging.

Don't think I could run 440 yards at that pace. Certainly not 880. McMillan Calculator laughs and says I sure as hell couldn't. And after all, I can't run right now, period. That calculator is a jerk. Of course, I couldn't find a track measured in yards anyway, so I could run 400 meters, and still not get under a minute. Whatever.

This is a good book about the sub 4 mile pursuit. A good history lesson, even if the plot is inherently spoiled. Perhaps most interesting to me is how little Bannister trained, in comparison to both John Landy and Wes Santee*, the two other runners the book focuses on. Interval work over his lunch break, typically not exceeding 40 minutes. So little running that some still suggest he must have been doing additional miles before or after med school. Bannister has always maintained that this isn't true, and that he didn't have time for warmup or cooldown jogs either, so there was no additional volume there.

But anyway, read the book. It's good.

*Santee ran at Kansas, so there's some local flavor, for you Lawrence folks. Had a few things broken differently, and Jim Ryun never been born, he might be more famous around these parts.

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