Alan Webb, a 2001 South Lakes graduate and 23-year-old international track star, set the American record in the two-mile event at the 2005 Prefontaine Classic at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field. It was the same track event in which Webb broke Jim Ryun's 36-year-old record in the one-mile event while in high school. Webb attended Michigan University before turning pro and accepting a contract with Nike. He competed in the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece, and is currently an international competitor and student at George Mason University. He is still the national high school record-holder for the indoor mile and outdoor mile and 1,500-meter run. He holds the national high school mile record (4:06.94) and was a 2001 Big-Ten Conference Cross Country Champion and 2002 Big-Ten 1,500-meter champion. He recently took 11th place at the Prefontaine Classic (4:00.87) and was sixth at the Adidas Classic.
You had the opportunity to compete at the Olympics. In what events did you compete and how do you rate your performance?
I ran in the 1500-meters... I did very well at the trials. I won trials. But once I got to the games it was a different story. Making the team was an emotional thing for me. It's something I dreamed about my whole life.
When I got there it was my first international race and it was a little overwhelming and I didn’t run the smartest race in the preliminary and I got pushed around, so I got kicked out in the first round.
What was it like to represent your country?
It was my first opportunity to represent the USA and my first time in the jersey. I did the opening ceremonies. To walk out in front of the world wearing USA gear... There were so many things that happened besides the race that were distractions, but they are once in a lifetime opportunities.
What can you do to get back there?
Keep on doing what I have been doing. Every year I try to do more and push myself a little bit further. If I keep doing that, three years from now I'll be back and this time I will have the experience. I plan on making the World Championship team this summer. I will have more international competition under my belt. I will be prepared.
Why are you so successful at the Prefontaine Classic?
Basically it's definitely the biggest grand prix in the United States. It’s the best opportunity to run against the best competition in the world and run in the U.S. You like to perform well in front of U.S. fans. Ever since high school, I've had a soft spot for it and it's always marked on my calendar. The "Pre" Classic will always be on my schedule no matter what.
What is it like to be the fastest mile runner and two-mile runner?
It's great to be able to run faster in the longer distances. My fitness is very good and I will be able to run faster in the mile which is my focus race. I showed my versatility. If you are trying to become one of the best in the world in the mile, the training will inevitably allow you to run faster in other events.
Now that you have had time to reflect, what have you learned that you could share with a young track star?
Enjoy it in the moment as much as you can. You don’t get that many opportunities. In high school you get to run with teammates. It’s a different feel as you get older. You have to take it all with a grain of salt. Be satisfied, but not totally satisfied.
Do you feel you were exposed to the media too young or did you like the spotlight?
It helped. It energized me when I started doing this. I've been competing since early high school and even before that when I was a swimmer. I realized that people are interested in what I'm doing and they really care about it. It made me push myself even harder. It was positive in that light. It was hard because if you don’t do well then you are the bad guy. It's good when it's good and bad when it's bad. Have it be encouraging when it's good, and when you don’t do so well don’t look or don’t read anything.
What other perks come with being a track star?
It's my career now so it provides me with income which is a nice thing. It takes me around the world. Even in high school I was criss-crossing the country. That’s one of the big perks. I get to do what I love to do and nowadays people don’t get to do that. I don’t take that for granted.
—The preceding was taken from an interview with Webb in 2005.
Alan Webb is 5 in a survey of the area's Top 100 Athletes by Connection Newspapers in 2000.