US mile record holder Alan Webb is setting his sights on triathlon. After being dropped by Nike at the end of the 2013 calendar year, Webb, who is one of the best middle distance runners in US history, is running unsponsored for the first time in his professional career. Webb ran his American record of 3:46.91 in 2007 and rose to fame in 2001 while in high school when he broke Jim Ryun’s high school mile record of 3:53.43. His career would take off and result in four national titles, an Olympic appearance in 2004, an 8th place finish at the 2007 World Championships.
“I am serious about triathlon,” Webb confirmed to Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden in a text message. “I am in Arizona working with a USA Triathlon group right now. Something I have always wanted to do since I was a kid. And I am burned out from running.”
After missing out on the 2008 Olympic team and the 2009 U.S. Championship final due to injury, Webb switched from Scott Raczko and joined Alberto Salazar’s Nike Oregon Project. In recent years, Webb has worked with Jason Vigilante and Jerry Schumacher.
This past weekend, Webb ran 4:02.81 for the mile at the Washington Husky Opener. He announced that his final track race will be the Wanamaker Mile at the 2014 Millrose Games on February 15.
Flotrack spoke with professional triathlete and former sub-4 minute miler Lukas Verzbicas about Webb’s news:
“He’s been considering [it] for a while now. We’ve even trained together over the last couple months,” Verzbicas told Flotrack. “It’s a good move for him as he has a swimming background, so that’s coming around fast. He sees it as his opportunity to make it to the (Olympic) Games and I believe he has a much better shot as a triathlete.”