Three-time U.S. 1,500m champion Alan Webb on Saturday broke the American record in the mile, clocking 3:46.91 at the Atletiek Vlaanderenmeet in Brasschaa, Belgium. The mark breaks the record of 3:47.69 set by National Track & Field Hall of Famer Steve Scott in 1982 and 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.
Held on a 6-lane track, Saturday's race is part of a career-best year for Webb. In February, 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.
The biggest win of Webb's career came July 6 in Paris, when he ran a personal-best 1,500m time of 3:30.54, the fastest time in the world in 2007. As recently as Monday, 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.
"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. "