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The Perfect Mile by Neal Bascomb This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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Many runners know that Roger Bannister was the first person to break the four-minute mile, but few know how he did it. The Perfect Mile explores how this Englishman and his rivals each attempted this feat.

The Perfect Mile is a meticulously researched book, compiling details from a score of races – including the 1952 Olympic Games as well as ­others unknown to the world until now. Neal Bascomb describes each race in an exciting fashion, building suspense with each failed attempt to break the four-minute barrier.

Bascomb begins by introducing the reader to the three athletes attempting the sub-four minute mile, and the history behind each: John Landy, the son of a wealthy Australian family, introduced to running as a result of his butterfly-catching hobby; Wes Santee, a Kansas farm boy who first ran to escape his abusive father; and Roger Bannister, the British medical student.

Finally, after years of holding the world in suspense, Bannister ran a sub-four minute mile on May 6, 1954. But, the story doesn’t end there. Later, Landy would run an even faster mile, inevitably pitting the two against each other in “The Mile of the Century.”

I recommend The Perfect Mile to readers of all ages who want a fast-paced, exciting, and suspenseful sports book that will keep you hooked until the end. I especially recommend it for runners.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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