Alan Webb to Return to the Armory

Story written by EPelle

Alan Webb is heading to the New York Armory to run in the 2007 New Balance Games on 20-January reported the IAAF today (link).

Exactly six years to the day he is set to toe the line in the Big Apple, Webb became the first American high school miler to break the 4.00-minute barrier indoors - a feat which remains solely his to claim.

I informed you on 3-January that Webb was set to run the Boston Indoor Games (blog
link), and it appears the miling star has opted to continue testing himself at the distance, rather than focussing on longer training as he'd done the past two winters.

Webb, then an 18-year-old from South Lakes High School in Reston, Virginia, USA, ran 3.59,86 on 20-January-2001 to place third in the open mile race at a high-school meet at the Armory, and became the first to make the achievement indoors - the fourth high school runner to break four minutes overall.

Leonard Mucheru won the race in 3.57,90, followed by Matt Holthaus in 3.59,74 - 0,14 seconds ahead of Webb, who didn't see him sneak up in the final 40 yards of the race.

Webb ran even splits, hitting marks of 59,9 - 1.59,5 (59,6) - 2.59,9 (60,4) - 3.59,86 (59,9).

Thom Hunt of San Diego held the previous indoor mile record with a best of 4.02,7. Webb not only erased Hunt's 25-year-old mile record, he obliterated Hunt's high school indoor 1.500m record en-route, running 3.43,27 to Hunt's 3.46,6.

''I opted to run the elite race, because there would be less pressure than in a high school mile, where I would have to run the pace. And from the entry in the elite race, I knew the pace would be faster,'' said Webb to the New York Times on his historic day six years ago (

Jim Ryun (3.55,3), who holds the USA national high school record, broke four minutes on five different occasions outdoors, with Tim Danielson (3.59,4) and Marty Liquori (3.59,8) also managing to break the magical barrier outdoors.

Webb went on to break Jim Ryun’s long-standing high school outdoor record of 3.55,3 set 36 years earlier with his boggling 3.53,43 set at the Prefontaine Classic - a race which Hicham El Guerrouj of Morroco won in 3.49,92.

Webb's previous outdoor best was 4.03,33.

Along the way to his outdoor
mile record, Webb timed 3.38,26 for 1.500 meters, breaking Ryun's high school mark of 3.39,0.

Fast-forwarding six years to the date, Webb, a 2005 IAAF World Championship 1.500m finalist, two-time USA Outdoor 1.500m champion and 2004 Olympian, will face stiff opposition from James Thie from Wales, Jason Lunn (USA), Adrian Blincoe (New Zealand) and Andy Badderly (England) among others.

Each man has a personal best indoor mile time under 4.00-minutes.

Webb has outdoor bests of 1.46,53 in the 800m; 3.32,52 in the 1.500m; 3.48,92 in the mile; 7.39,28 in the 3.000m; 8.11,48 (American Record) in the 2-mile; 13.10,86 in the 5.000m; and 27.34,72 in the 10.000m.

Webb has a 3.57,52 indoor mile best set in 2004.

NB: Webb to run Mile at Furman University

Alan Webb is also scheduled to continuing his miling duties, having agreed to run a mile in April at Furman University in what may turn out to be the first sub-4.00 mile ever run on a track on South Carolina soil.

Elite athlete coordinator Mickey McCauley of the Furman Invitational said that Webb and a handful of other top milers had committed to participate in the Furman Invitational Elite Mile set for Saturday, 7-April.

South Carolina resident Marty Flynn currently holds the mark for the fastest track mile ever run in the state at 4.00,90, and stated to The Greenville News (link) that he will not sad to see his record toppled.

"Records are made to be broken," he said. "If you don't want your records broken, you should have run faster."

Indeed, Webb has his sights on running fast in 2007 - an IAAF World Championships season.

Webb spent the greater part of 2006 recovering from anemia-like symptoms in the winter and an injury following his spectacular 10.000m run at Stanford University. He appears on track this season to tackle on both the mile and the 1.500m, his bread and butter events.

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