Sunday, April 11, 2004
In 1954, a track athlete from small-town Kansas was competing with runners in England and Australia to be the first to break the four-minute mile.
His name was Wes Santee, and he'll be at Oread Books on Saturday with author Neal Bascomb, whose new book, "The Perfect Mile: Three Athletes, One Goal, and Less Than Four Minutes to Achieve It" (Houghton Mifflin), commemorates the 50th anniversary of the breaking of the sub-four.
Santee and Bascomb will give a talk and sign books from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the bookstore on level 2 of the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public.
It coincides with the final day of the 2004 Kansas Relays at the adjacent Memorial Stadium, and with the Kansas Relays Hall of Fame inaugural class inductions, to include Santee.
In "The Perfect Mile," Bascomb tells the story behind the story of a pivotal moment in sports history and the individual paths three men followed in their quest to accomplish the impossible. Though Santee never broke the four-minute mark, he took first place in the Kansas Relays mile back-to-back in 1954 and 1955, his first effort turning in the second fastest American time in history.