Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Webb Set To Challenge Steve Scott's Mile Record

Alan Webb, who already broke a couple of Steve Scott's records this season (his 28-year-old Drake Relays meet record in the Mile Run and his 25-year-old U.S. National Outdoor Championships meet record in the 1500m Run) is going for perhaps Scott's most prestigious record: the American Mile Run record of 3:47.69. He has lined up a couple of rabbits to pace him at the Atletiek Vlaanderen Meeting in Brasschaat, Belgium on July 21st, 2007.

According to this article, Webb will need ideal conditions and good pacing. The forecast for Saturday in Antwerp is partly cloudy with highs in the upper 60s and lows in the mid 50s, which is ideal for middle distance running.

As he tries for the record, we have to wonder: Is Webb peaking to soon? Probably not.
If we look at his 2005 timeline, he showed a remarkably steady progression (see chart. I converted his Mile times from both years to their 1500m equivalents) all the way from May to August (the sole spike on the 2005 line is his 9th place finish at the 2005 Helsinki world championships).

Going into the last part of the current season, the trend for his 2007 timeline appears to be vastly different than, and superior to, his corresponding 2005 timeline. Not only that, but he is much more experienced in international competition and his tactics should be much different than they were in Helsinki. Back then, he shot to the front at 800m, in effect acting as the sacrificial lamb, err... rabbit. This year, he has exhibited much more confidence in his kick by waiting it out, even in slow, tactical races, and then outkicking his opponents. He did this in June by outkicking Bernard Lagat at the national championships and he did it again in Paris, this time outkicking Mehdi Baala.

Here's the video of the 2005 1500m final (plus Webb's semi-final race which he led for most of the race, ending up 2nd in his heat). I found it on You Tube, so I had nothing to do with the cheesy jazz overdub or the completely moronic descriptive text that reads, "in the final of the 1500 Alan Webb again 'attacks' which was a good strategy... You have to 'go for it' to win." Whoever typed that must not know anything about 1500m running, or must not have watched how Webb paid dearly for his "attack" at 800m by getting passed in the last lap by nearly the entire field! The Alan Webb you'll see in this 2005 video is a much different runner than the Alan Webb 2007. Back then, he was still just a prodigy. This time around, he's obviously a contender.

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