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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Book Review - The Perfect Mile

Book Reviews

The Perfect Mile

If you are a student of history, you know all about the quest to be the first runner to break the 4 minute mile.

Author Neal Bascomb weave three stories of the three men chasing the goal in 1952; English medical student Roger Bannister, American track star and Kansas college student Wes Santee and Australian college student John Landy.

Even though I knew the outcome I picked a favorite because Bascomb composes a compelling story highlighting the differences not only of each of the men, but of their approach to the goal.

Bannister was the classic English amateur.  He was the well rounded Renaissance Man. He balanced rounds in the hospital, medical school classes, research and training.  His research into exercise physiology helped him to understand how to get the most from his training. He was surprised when he studied climber Edmund Hilary. He was not the physical specimen he expected, so he knew that the mental training for meeting the goal was as important as the physical training.

The American Wes Santee used running early to escape an abusive childhood wining a scholarship. His personal goals often were sacrifice to make team goals. His dream to be the first to break the 4 min mark was sometimes thwarted by the politics of amateur athletics.

Aussie John Landy also balanced college coursework with training. The difference was Landy’s philosophy was to train harder than anyone else. He was legendary for his grueling training regime.   He saw the quest to be the first to break the task as a spiritual journey. He was mastering his body with his tough training. The hopes of the entire nation were with him. He was in every respect a national hero as he got closer and closer to his goal.

The author takes you to the track the day the record was broken.  The race of the century was the show down at the Commonwealth games in Canada that featured Landy and Bannister as the two 4 minute milers in a head to head race.  The race captivated the world at the time and made the men front page news.

Bascomb will have you on the edge of your seat as he describes the battle lap by lap.
This is an absolutely splendid read for anyone that runs or loves to watch a great running race.

Neal Bascomb is a native of St. Louis. He is an editor and journalist for the New York Times.  He is the author of Higher: A Historical Race to the Sky, Red Mutiny: Eleven Fateful Days on the Battleship Potemin.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the Boston Marathon.  In 2012 she finished 2nd at Boston in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was on the course in 2013 when the bombs exploded.

She has appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Champion.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship. She has qualified to represent Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015.  

 In 2014 she represented  the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete.

You may visit her author page at:

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 163 members in 32 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; or

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Additional Link
Follow CMT affected Paratriathlete Timmy Dixon

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