Alan Webb is one of the most down-to-earth guys I have ever met. He is a talented singer and guitar
player (I knew him from our school's Men's Ensemble
), and was the SGA
president during his Senior
year. His fame, however, lies elsewhere. He is also the fastest teenager in American history.
His meteoric rise to stardom began during his junior year in high school when
sportswriters and track fans across the country became aware of a young man
closing in on many a high school record. Webb began running at South Lakes
High School in his home town of Reston, VA as a member of the school's
cross country team. In January of 2001, Webb broke the high school
indoor mile record by a healthy margin and set his sights on the overall
mile record for a high schooler. That record had been set by Jim Ryun in
1965 and stood untouched ever since.
On the morning of Sunday, May 27th 2001, at the Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, OR, Alan Webb started off quietly. Keeping a slow pace to conserve energy for the final push, Webb kept behind for the first two laps, but pulled even with the pack for the 3rd lap. "I got excited then. I was like, 'I'm five meters from El Guerrouj with a lap to go.' With 150 meters left, I tried to give it everything I had, and I kinda ran out of gas in the stretch. But I looked at the clock, and saw that I'd done what I came for, so I felt pretty good." The Prefontaine Classic meet director said he hadn't, "heard an animal roar like that from the Hayward Field crowd since Pre ran in '71". On that morning, Alan Webb shattered Jim Ryun's mile record by two full seconds with a time of 3:53:43.
Webb's long-time idol was the man after whom the meet was named, Steve Prefontaine, one of the fastest high schoolers in the nation's history. Prefontaine's drive and dedication were an inspiration to Webb, who can now be counted along with him as one of the fastest young runners in America's history. Webb currently attends the University of Michigan and is pursuing his track career under the guidance of coach Kevin Sullivan.