Alan Webb was just 18 when he broke a 36-year-old record by running the fastest mile ever for a high-school athlete, breaking Jim Ryun's mark by two seconds. Lear spent most of the 2001-02 school year with freshman Webb and his teammates at the University of Michigan, where many of America's best distance runners gather to learn from legendary coach Ron Warhurst. Though there have been any number of books chronicling the ups and downs of seasons in major sports, this may be the first to follow a group of world-class distance runners through a competitive cycle. The focus is on Webb as he juggles the challenges of college academics, injuries, and media attention along with the rigors of competition, but Lear also examines group dynamics as the other runners adjust to the presence of a track wunderkind in their midst. The best books take us to places or situations we are unlikely to experience firsthand. Lear succeeds admirably as readers experience vicariously the fiercely competitive, often anonymous lives of modern distance runners. Wes LukowskyCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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“Webb's pursuit of the 4-minute mile as a high school senior was one of the most compelling stories in recent U.S. track history. Chris Lear's insightful work picks up the tale where many dropped it, following Webb to college and exposing the sub-4:00 as not just a blessing, but a burden as well.” ―Tim Layden, Senior Writer, Sports Illustrated
“What John Feinstein did for collegiate basketball with A Season on the Brink, Lear does with Sub 4:00. This dramatic story of personal and athletic growth is the literary equivalent of a 4-minute mile.” ―Sportswriter Mike Sandrock, author of Running with the Legends
“An insightful look into the life of a high school phenom and the resulting pressures at the collegiate level.” ―Suzy Favor Hamilton, Olympic miler