Today is the 13th Anniversary of Alan’s 3:53 high school mile record. A continuation from my last blog (with more to come), Nate Brennan and Kara Goucher share what his record at the turn of the century meant to them.
Nate Brennan, was also a sub 4 minute high school miler (3:59.85); only 1 of 7 high schoolers in history to break 4 in North America. He had the luxury of being a roommate to Alan freshman year at Michigan and continued to excel winning 4 NCAA and 6 Big Ten titles, becoming an 11-time All-American in Track and Field and Cross-Country; setting 3 NCAA records, 2 Canadian Records, and the 2003-2004 University of Michigan Athlete of the Year Award. He has continued to dominate middle distances professionally into his 30’s, representing Canada at 2 Olympic Games and 6 World Championships. He recently set another national record this past spring at 1K. Nate’s wife Theresa (Feldkamp) had success in mid-distance, competing at Michigan (with much faster PRs than me in the 800/1500). This means that 2 year old daughter Gianna and soon to be son (due this summer!) have questionably better genetics than Joanie Webb.
Nate on Alan’s record:
(photo from “Sub Four” by Chris Lear)
I can’t believe it’s already been 13 years since I was awed when you not only broke the American Junior record but shattered it. I remember being at work at Old Navy, yes I worked at Old Navy in high school, and getting a call from my training partner, Matt Kerr. I had never received a call at work and thought it was very odd to be getting one and when I picked up the phone Matt said, “did you see what Webb just ran?” I said no and he continues to say, 3:53. I said no f**king way. With a straight tone in his voice he said, “I’m not kidding.” I thought he was just messing with me and I got off the phone still not sure if I should believe him. It wasn’t until I got home a few hours later and checked the results and was amazed to see what you ran. It was this performance, Alan, that truly changed American distance running and started the resurgence once again. You showed us that we CAN compete against the rest of the World and that we shouldn’t be afraid. It was your attitude toward running and being the best that was infectious to those around you. I remember wanting nothing more than to beat you, not because I wanted to beat ‘Alan Webb’ but I knew if I did then I must have made it in this sport because you were/are so talented that you became the measurement of greatness.
You should be walking away from the Sport of Track & Field with your head held extremely high. You had some of the best and biggest performances of any Track athlete EVER and you will always be remembered for this. No matter what you do in life, you will always be remembered as ‘The’ Alan Webb. Not just because you ran 3:53 in high school, but because you ran 3:53 in high school as well as achieved so many other amazing feats. 3:46, 3:30, 1:43, 7:39, 13:10, 27:34 just to name a few. Only a runner knows what those numbers refer to and only another World class runner truly appreciates how fast they are. I would feel 100% complete walking away from track with PR’s like that and I hope you do as well. Sure everyone wishes for more and you probably had more in you but just the way you effected running in the US shows your impact as a runner and in this sport. You are truly amazing and I am proud to call you a great friend! Your kids will be VERY proud of you one day when they fully understand how good you were/are!
Kara Goucher needs no introduction (Bronze medalist at 10,000m World Champs and many many more amazing feats). Alan shared coaches and training atmospheres with Kara (2010-11; 2013) before she moved to Colorado and Alan moved to triathlon. She is an awesome friend, amazing mom to Colt, and husband to former elite runner Adam Goucher.
How has it been 13 years since Alan ran 3:53 in High School? What a magical moment it was for Track and Field in America and around the world. I remember being completely shocked with him running 3:53. I also remember being even more shocked that he was so high up in the race- he and Bernard Lagat both ran 3:53 that day. I remember being in total awe of this kid that was shaking it up with the big dogs and I immediately became a fan. Following Alan over the years has been tremendously inspiring. His racing style and the way he really went for it in races, made him exciting to watch. Without a doubt he had a huge impact on running here in the US. We all watched him and as he strove to be better and we all picked up our game and started to think about bigger goals and success. Seeing his progress was tremendously inspiring and captured the attention of so many people.
Getting to know Alan over the years has been great. He is such a good friend and he always understands what I’m dealing with as an athlete and offers great perspective. I’m proud to call him a friend and even more proud of how he has handled everything that has come his way. I could never imagine living under the microscope like Alan has and trying to compete that way. One of the reasons I became such a fan of Alan in the beginning was the way he showed emotions after his races, you just knew he was giving it all he could. I will always be a fan of Alan’s and I will always be inspired by what he did for our sport. He brought it back to life here in the US, he gave us hope and a reason to be excited. It all started with that 3:53 and continue to feel the power of it now 13 years later. What a career, what a person, cheers Alan!!