Ever since I saw Men’s 1,500m Final at World Championships in Daegu this past August, I became a fan of the distance. These guys are running below 60 seconds each lap but the kick they show in the last 400m is just amazing. So, after the championships, I was reading some articles and stumbled upon this book, The Perfect Distance – Ovett and Coe: The Record-Breaking Rivalry, that is being made into a film.
I’ve heard of Sebastian Coe growing up, but I could not tell if he was a 800m or 10,000m runner. If I was more into track and field then, I would have become his fan. The fact he ran 3 world records in 41 days, among other achievement of his, is magnificent and heroic, but he also was a very hard working and intelligent runner. Anyhow, this book is not just about Seb Coe, but his rivalry with Steve Ovett and the decade of British dominance of middle distance.
The book treats both legends equally and gives fair, objective, and comprehensive comparison between the two, though I found the story telling a bit dry, especially when he described their races. I would have enjoyed more dramatic description of each race or at least some of the big races. In search for the excitement, I resorted to You Tube and looked up the races mentioned in the book. It was a good way to visualize the races via videos but would have liked to have done so through his words. The fact the author tried to be fair and objective about both runners also might have something to do with story-telling dry. It also dealt with too many topics, though relevant, that lost focus from the rivalry. Facts about their families and the tradition of Mile races may have been cut short without impacting the focus of the story.
Having said that, this book gave me a good overview of the rivalry and caused me to look for more stories about these outstanding and inspirational athletes.[schema type=”book” url=”http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Distance-Ovett-Record-Breaking-Rivalry/dp/0753819007/” name=”The Perfect Distance” author=”Pat Butcher” publisher=”Phoenix” pubdate=”2005-07-01″ isbn=”978-0753819005″ ]