This evening I have been watching the Olympic Track & Field competition. It has been an exciting night with a World Record in the men’s 400 meter and a third win for Usain Bolt in the 100 meter.
To me the World Record in the 400 meter by Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa was the more impressive of the two runs.
van Niekerk smashed the previous record held by Michael Johnson by .15 seconds. It was interesting to see the look on Usain Bolt’s face when he saw the winning time in the 400. He was definitely shocked.
Another interesting fact about van Niekerk is that he is the only person to run the 100 meter in less than 10 seconds, the 200 meter in less than 20 seconds and the 400 meter in less than 44 seconds.
OK, I am getting away from the title of my post. The results from the Olympics tonight made me think of another book that I have in one of my stacks of books to read.
Roger Bannister is a household name when it comes to running. Many people can tell you that he was the first man to run a four minute mile.
The book details his quest for the four minute mile and concludes with a few races that he ran shortly after his milestone.
However, do you know who was the second man to run a four minute mile? Not many people can tell you that John Landy of Australia broke the record less than 50 days later. Being the second to achieve a milestone is sometimes not memorable.
I am sure that very few people know who the first American to run a four minute mile was. Some may guess Wes Santee, but he was never able to break the four minute barrier.
The first American four minute mile did not come until June 1, 1957 and it happened only about 20 miles from where I now live.
Dan Bowden who was a student at Cal broke the barrier in a meet at Pacific University in Stockton, California.
It would be another three years before another American would run under four minutes. Now, according to Track and Field News, there have been 474 Americans who have run four minute miles.
Now, back to the Olympics.