Monday, July 23, 2007

Alan Webb breaks American record in the mile...



Alan Webb leads the field in a qualifying heat of the 1500 meters at the 2005 IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Helsinki, Finland. Webb broke the American record in the mile run on July 21st, running 3:46.91 in Brasschaa, Belgium (Paul Merca photo, 2005)

One of the longest standing American track & field records was broken on Saturday, July 21st, as Alan Webb shot down Steve Scott's 25 year old record in the mile by running 3:46.91 at the Atletiek Vlaanderenmeet in Brasschaa, Belgium.

The time, which beats Scott's old AR of 3:47.69 set in Oslo at the 1982 Bislett Games, makes Webb the eighth-fastest man in history, behind Hicham El Guerrouj, Noah Ngeny, Noureddine Morceli, Steve Cram, Daniel Komen, Venuste Niyongabo and Said Aouita.

Webb's agent, Ray Flynn, reports unofficial quarter-mile splits for Webb during the race as 56.1, 57.4, 56.8 and 56.2.

This race continues Webb's banner season, in which he won his first U.S. indoor title in the mile before going on a tear during the outdoor season. On April 28, he ran 3:51.71 to break Scott's mile record at the Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa. On June 24 in Indianapolis, he ran 3:34.82 in the 1,500 to break Scott's meet record at the AT&T USA Outdoor Championships, where Webb won his third career national title.

At the Paris Golden League meet on July 6th, Webb won the biggest race of his career, when he ran a personal-best 1,500m time of 3:30.54, the fastest time in the world in 2007. As recently as July 16th, Webb set a new personal best in the 800 meters, running 1:45.80 in Malmo, Sweden.

Steve Scott wasn't caught by surprise when he learned of the record from one of the athletes he coaches.

"I want to personally congratulate Alan," Scott said. "I anticipated it being broken. After his 1:45 and his 3:30, you knew he was capable of it. It was just a matter of having the right pace and conditions. Even if conditions weren't perfect, he's so strong, I knew he could do it. I had a prediction of 3:46.5 for him.

Scott said, "I'm happy that it was Alan who broke it, and I believe at the end of the day, when all is said and done, that people will consider him the greatest distance runner America has ever had. He has such range, he's so young and he's accomplished so much. I have nothing to be ashamed of, losing the record to him. "

Although Webb has been taken to task by critics for his questionable race tactics over the last few years, his recent hot streak makes him a legitimate contender for a spot on the podium at next month's IAAF World Track & Field Championships in Osaka, Japan.

Click here to see the race, courtesy Flocasts.com.

NOTE: USA Track & Field contributed portions of this post.

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