The origin of the 1500 is older than the 20th century. It was held in the 1896 Olympics. My best guess (and I wish I had some references handy to support this) is that the 1500 was a round number closest in distance to the mile.
At that time, there was no such thing as a "standard track". The Boston AA, rich enough to build whatever they wanted, had a 220y track. Berlin had a 600m track. The 1896 Oly stadium was something like 333m. As late as 1962, Peter Snell set a WR on a 385y track.
The origin of the 1500m is something akin to the 3 mile and 6 mile here -- a basically stupid distance unless you're approximating one measurement system's standard distance in the other. By the way, anyone even remotely connected to distance running "understands" 5k and 10k times, not to mention marathon times. If we synched up with the rest of the world, those that are even casual fans wouldn't have any problem within a year or two. Heck, after a year or so of using metrics for field events, I prefer them!
>The origin of the 1500 is older than the 20th
>century. It was held in the 1896 Olympics. My
>best guess (and I wish I had some references
>handy to support this) is that the 1500 was a
>round number closest in distance to the
At that time, there was no such thing as
>a "standard track". The Boston AA, rich enough
>to build whatever they wanted, had a 220y track.
>Berlin had a 600m track. The 1896 Oly stadium
>was something like 333m. As late as 1962, Peter
>Snell set a WR on a 385y track.
>of the 1500m is something akin to the 3 mile and
>6 mile here -- a basically stupid distance
>unless you're approximating one measurement
>system's standard distance in the other. By the
>way, anyone even remotely connected to distance
>running "understands" 5k and 10k times, not to
>mention marathon times. If we synched up with
>the rest of the world, those that are even
>casual fans wouldn't have any problem within a
>year or two. Heck, after a year or so of using
>metrics for field events, I prefer them!
I agree with the field event comment. While ft/in are the standard we relate to most, it is a lot easier to calculate that a long jumper who jumps 28'7.75'' (8.73m) beats a 27'10.5'' (8.50m) by 23 centimeters than it is to say he won by 9.25 inches...
"Remember having to add and subtract those pesky fractions in grade school?"
What, if any, events do you think should be contested more often in meets. (Let's go ahead and stipulate that the mile would be a favorite)
In a meet where team competion is the main objective (ie dual meets and most high school meets), I think the medley relays would be a valuable addition. As it stands now, we tradiationally gather the 4 best 100m runners, 400m runners and 800m runners to run a relay together. This is supposed to "prove" who the best team is... But, for an all-around measure, why not mix them up a bit. Run the sprint medley; it forces a team to be strong all around in the sprints (100, 200 and 400). A middle distance medley require a team to be strong in the sprints and middle distance (200, 400, 800), etc...
Interesting historical info. Ok, How DID 400 meters originate. After some time on Google, I still don't know. I found out that the Greeks ran a 190 meter sprint (the footsteps of Hercules or something like that). Maybe it started with a round number 100 meters. Then they said, lets run twice that far (200 meters) then they said lets run twice that (400) and twice that (800) and then someone said STOP!!! Let's start rounding this stuff off at 1.5k, 5k, 10k. Then they said, let's WALK the rest of the way!!! haha 20K, 50K. Soooo, does anyone else know how 400 originated, or did it just fit nicely around a soccer field?
What, if any,
>events do you think should be contested more
>often in meets. (Let's go ahead and stipulate
>that the mile would be a favorite)
In a meet
>where team competion is the main objective (ie
>dual meets and most high school meets), I think
>the medley relays would be a valuable addition.
>As it stands now, we tradiationally gather the 4
>best 100m runners, 400m runners and 800m runners
>to run a relay together. This is supposed to
>"prove" who the best team is... But, for an
>all-around measure, why not mix them up a bit.
>Run the sprint medley; it forces a team to be
>strong all around in the sprints (100, 200 and
>400). A middle distance medley require a team to
>be strong in the sprints and middle distance
>(200, 400, 800), etc...>
I wish the International crowd would embrace relays the way the US does. 4 x 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, sprint and distance medleys. Maybe the final day of the Olympic and World Athletics should be relay day.
>events do you think should be contested
>often in meets. (Let's go ahead and
>that the mile would be a
In a meet
>where team competion is
>the main objective (ie
>dual meets and most high
>school meets), I think
>the medley relays would
>be a valuable addition.
>As it stands now, we
>tradiationally gather the 4
>best 100m runners,
>400m runners and 800m runners
>to run a relay
>together. This is supposed to
>"prove" who the
>best team is... But, for an
>why not mix them up a bit.
>Run the sprint
>medley; it forces a team to be
>around in the sprints (100, 200 and
>middle distance medley require a team to
>strong in the sprints and middle distance
>400, 800), etc...>
I wish the International
>crowd would embrace relays the way the US does. 4
>x 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, sprint and distance
>medleys. Maybe the final day of the Olympic and
>World Athletics should be relay day.
Right, as it stands, the only way the US would lose the 4x100 or 4x400 is if: a) the US is DQ'd, b) the US has a really bad day c) another country has a really good day d) any other extreme case like the others.
Heck, the 4 best HS 100m and 400m men in the country could probably beat at least 95 percent of the nations they run against.
Imagine what it would be like for the US if we had to add a distance runner to the realy team?
>The vast majority of people that watch or read
>about track and field relate 4:00 to Mile times.
>So when a high schooler does get close to 4
>minutes, those of us who have no problem
>converting a 1600m time to a mile, still get
>frustrated that officials can not stagger the
>track a few yards on each lap to make a true
>mile. It is very simple to do, and would
>benefit all who have to be reminded that a 4:00
>1600m converts to approximately a 4:01.7 mile.
>Let's not forget the idiocy of the 3200m, and
>d how those times are tainted from actaul 2-mile
>efforts. Fans, I believe, would appreciate the
>effort that much more. I can think of no other
>country where where 1600m and 3200m are run
>rather than a mile and 3000m, especially when
>they are not internationally recognized
Running 1500m would really be the
>right thing to do, but running 1 mile may
>actually be the best for fans to comprehend.
>The Mile is recognized as a record event by the
>IAAF and sometimes run on the European cicuit.
My understanding of the issue of Mile versus
>1500 was that in the early twentieth century the
>UK had quarter mile tracks while the French had
>500 meter tracks. On the latter, a 1,500 makes a
>lot of sense: 3 laps. The compromise that was
>ultimately struck was to use 400 meter tracks
>internationally which was metric but approximates
>a quarter mile, and use the English equivalents
>in the shorter distances (100,200, 400, 800) but
>use the French distances at the longer distances
>(1500, 3000, 5000, 10000).
As to running a
>Mile on a 400 meter track, it is very simple. You
>use the common finish line but start the race 9
>meters behind it which is just inside the relay
>zone. I cannot believe that this is so difficult
>that the high schools had to invent a bastard
>event instead. It doesn't require Calculus, or
>even 9th Grade Alegbra to figure out how to do
The Mile makes sense for two reasons: (1)
>The public relates to it, but has no clue about
>the 1600, and (2) the long history of tradition
>about the mile.
If Webb had broken 4 minutes
>in the 1600, would the press and public cared at
The IAAF recognizes records in the 1000, 2000, etc. but that doesn't make either of those distances as or more 'important' than the 1500. The mile is sometimes run, but never in the major championships nor even raced as frequently as the 1500 and not much more than the 3000 is. Not hard at all to figure out where to start the 1500 either, it happens to coincide with a common landmark on tracks, not some mark part-way down a straightaway.
1) Since when does the public relate to the mile? The public couldn't even walk a mile or know how long one is without the help of an odometer or road marker. It's just a race distance, like the 1600, the 1500, 3000, the marathon, etc. The one across the line first wins, no calculus or algebra or even rudimentary arithmetic needed to figure that one out.
2) Since when does anyone outside the stat crowd care a whit about the so-called tradition? Yeah Joe Lunchbox knows that it's hard to break 4:00 in the mile even though they've been doing since he was a kid or before. He could be convinced that it's very hard to break 3:50 in the 1500 just as easily. Traditions start and traditions end. Being a slave to tradition while the rest of the world marches on is ridiculously backwards.
Why reinvent the wheel when you admit Joe lunchpail already knows it is difficult to break 4:00 in the mile? Many Joe Lunchpails have no clue whether 1600 meters is the length of a football field or the distance between NY and Philadelphia.
At a time when our sport is desparately trying to connect to the public, making it more difficult for them to understand it instead of less difficult makes no sense whatsoever.
Halfmiler is correct - run the mile in High School. As for the 3200/3000/2mile debate in High School - I don't really care. For my money you could eliminate those races all togather.
30 minutes at the end of a high school meet watching the 2 miles for boys/girls would be better spent running a distance medley for each sex. Too often 2 miles are runaways, and it gives kids an excuse to not work on speed. They will have plenty of time to race long on the track later.
2 mile track races are not even exciting to me (a distance runner). The same can be said for 10K in college - bag it. Throw all the distance guys/gals in the 5k for better racing and save the longer races for CC.
Joe Lunchpail(s) would be equally apathetic whether U.S. high schoolers ran a mile, 1500 meters, 2/3 leagues, 1/2 fathom, or twice the square root of an acre. Why would anyone ever think that going to the mile is the magic pill that will do more to draw the public to high school track meets? That would be the height of self-delusion.
Why, indeed. Why 4 laps and 8, why not 5 laps and 10? Or how about 3 laps and 6? You're right, it's the whole rest of the world that has it wrong. Dig those heels in deeper, that'll show 'em all just how right we are.
>Why, indeed. Why 4 laps and 8, why not 5 laps
>and 10? Or how about 3 laps and 6? You're
>right, it's the whole rest of the world that has
>it wrong. Dig those heels in deeper, that'll
>show 'em all just how right we are.
Not sure that it a matter of we're right and they're wrong. Back in the day when the 440 yard tracks were the standard at high schools and most colleges, 4 laps made a mile. As we converted to 400 meter tracks , we had to make a choice... do we keep make the race equivalent in terms of laps or distance? Considering the fact that the 220y became the 200m, 440y and 400m, etc... it would appear we chose the lap equivelents -- hence the 1600 (4 laps times 400m) and the 3200 (8 laps times 400m).
Imagine if we chose equivalent distances instead of laps? The 91.44m , 201.16m, etc...
>IAAF recognizes records in the 1000, 2000, etc.
>but that doesn't make either of those distances
>as or more 'important' than the 1500. The mile
>is sometimes run, but never in the major
>championships nor even raced as frequently as the
>1500 and not much more than the 3000 is.
If you look at non-US Grand Prix meets in 2002, on the men's side, the 1500 was run 16 times, the mile 3 times, the 3000 10 times.
On the women's side: 13 races in 1500, NONE in 1 mile, 10 in 3000.
Face it: hardly anyone outside the US gives a damn about mile races. The three meets which did hold 1 mile races had specific reasons to do so: Oslo has a long-established tradition with its Golden Mile, London is used to the English system (although they do use the metric system these days) and Rome wanted to give El Guerrouj a shot at a WR (the 1500 record is harder to beat). No other meet outside the US had a mile race.
I never said going back to the mile instead of the 1600 is a magic bullet but it does make a difference as evidenced by the favorable publicity that Alan Webb got. He would not have gotten nearly the same publicity for breaking 4 minutes in the 1600.
Actually John Zishka ran his 4:03 at the Golden West meet so BK's state MEET record is legit, but it shouldn't stand as the STATE record (although I think that's what you were getting at and I thoroughly agree!!!).
in some sense having a 1500 when there is a mile is silly. but can't you look the other way around that because we have the 1500 for a world champs the mile is silly. let's just be glad as distance runners (support even if ur not a distance runner) that we have these two great events to pick from.
i read from an earlier post that having an event 100m+ shorter doesn't make sense. look at sprinters (im not knocking you,im just trying to make a point), you have the 100m and 200m. now if my math serves me correctly, they are only 100m apart, but yet each one it important and requires a slighlty different tactic to race.
if you're gonna argue about distances, you should argue why some events have hurdles with them, or even take it out to the field, why should there be 4 throwing event (a ball, a ball with a cord, a disc, and a long stick), why not just make it into one. because each event is different, requires different skill,tactics, and lets be glad that we have these different events.
>in some sense having a 1500 when there is a mile
>is silly. but can't you look the other way around
>that because we have the 1500 for a world champs
>the mile is silly. let's just be glad as distance
>runners (support even if ur not a distance
>runner) that we have these two great events to
i read from an earlier post that
>having an event 100m+ shorter doesn't make sense.
>look at sprinters (im not knocking you,im just
>trying to make a point), you have the 100m and
>200m. now if my math serves me correctly, they
>are only 100m apart, but yet each one it
>important and requires a slighlty different
>tactic to race.
if you're gonna argue about
>distances, you should argue why some events have
>hurdles with them, or even take it out to the
>field, why should there be 4 throwing event (a
>ball, a ball with a cord, a disc, and a long
>stick), why not just make it into one. because
>each event is different, requires different
>skill,tactics, and lets be glad that we have
>these different events.
When you look at the big picture, the best option is probably to leave the events as they are. So much of the world runs 1500m, some occassionally run a mile, and high school runners are "forced" to run 1600m. I don't see the big deal. As it stands, several other events are contested under different rules at the various levels of competition: the shot and discus vary in weight, the height of the high hurdles is higher for some than others, there's the 300m hurdles vs 400m hurdles debate, and distances in XC races vary greatly. Then, there's the whole gender issue dealing with weights and hurdle height.
If the concern is that it's difficult to judge a runners ability to make it at the next level of competition (ie, can't truly judge someone's 1500m potential when they're running a mile or 1600), then wouldn't that also apply to the weight throws and hurdles? How many outstanding HS shot putters have vanished from the scene because they could barely throw college/international shot 50 ft? Or, the sub-13 sec HS hurdler to suddenly found that the extra 3in on the hurdle made him into nothing more than a sub-15 sec hurdler.
Class needs to be called back into session. The walks fully deserve to be dropped in the dust-bin of history.
I was a "walk"-believer way back when--and even, I hate to admit it--competed in a few track mile walks. What opened my eyes big-time was watching the 20k walk at the '88 US Olympic trials. I watched the athletes very carefully and was amazed to see that what seemed like half the field was clearly floating (i.e. CHEATING) every time the group came past me. The group strategy seemed pretty clear: the "walkers" on the outside of the scrum had pretty good form, while the ones hidden in the middle were just as clearly NOT legit. I presume that the group rotated around every now and then so that nearly everyone got their chance to relax and jog. Now, I'll admit, I did not have a high-speed movie camera, and can't produce the film to prove this...but that's what I saw, and I looked really carefully. It seemed comically absurd to me. (The judges, by the way, seemed pretty few and far beteween--there were significant gaps of road without a single judge.)
I don't want to tar everyone with the same brush. For example, I've seen film of Larry Young and from what I could tell, he was completely legit. I'll wager that in the entire history of "walking," there are at least another dozen or so other "walkers" who were completely legit. Maybe I'm being too generous, but that's the kind of guy I am.
The walks deserve to go because they ENCOURAGE CHEATING. By their very nature, they are about CHEATing as much as one can get away with, and not a single un-straightened knee less. In no other event is CHEATING so integral to the very nature of the activity.
I'm all for race walking, power walking, chicken walking, you name it, when done in the privacy of one's own suburban streets or high school track. But it is hopeless to pretend that such activities deserve our respect as "sports." They don't. Further, arguments that "walkers" deserve our respect because they are dedicated, train hard, good family folk, etc., are irrelevant. Good people may devote lots of effort to all manner of activites--juggling, yodeling, flying kites, whatever--and we are not obligated to call any of these actrivities a "sport."
Track and field fans have a simple solution to this embarrasing problem: Don't pay any attention to the walks. Pretend they don't exist, and sooner or later they won't.
LASTLY: If you want a couple events to add to the program, I'd nominate the 1000 and 600 meter runs. Both would freshen up the typical circuit programs, while allowing athletes from different events to meet on reasonably common ground. They shouldn't replace the 800 and 400 of course, but could be run at, say, 10-15% of the meets on the circuit.
The answer to the walk debate is simple enough. Simply attatch a sensor to the bottom of each shoe - 1 of which must be in contact with the ground at all times. If neither is in contact the walker is penalized/disqualified. Seems completely doable in this day and age - probably could have a few techogeeks here locally devise the system in 2 days if I bought them enough Mountain Dew.
I can't stand watching the walk events simply because I believe most are not walking - if I knew the rules were enforced I at least can respect the event.
I don't want to see the walks discontinued - why take away a fan base when we are trying to grow the sport? Simply enforce the rules electronically.
Wonder how the walkers would respond to being monitored electronically?
Let's just hope high school federations wake up. Perhaps the mile should be eliminated all together, with the exception of special invitationals like Arcadia and the GW. There is a reluctance to change from 1600m to 1500m because people are used to relating to "mile" times, even though 1600m is not a mile. If federations were willing to change all running events to meters, why not complete the plunge and get the 1500m on the books. It serves no purpose to keep 1600m. We are the only country that runs that event. Look on the bright side, if you were a young athlete, would you like to run an event that is 100m shorter in distance. Come on U.S., get in line with the international community.
>The answer to the walk debate is simple enough.
>Simply attatch a sensor to the bottom of each
>shoe - 1 of which must be in contact with the
>ground at all times. If neither is in contact
>the walker is penalized/disqualified. Seems
>completely doable in this day and age - probably
>could have a few techogeeks here locally devise
>the system in 2 days if I bought them enough
It has been tried on a very highly technical level. The systems are not reliable enough to work without an acceptable failure rate.
>I can't stand watching the
>walk events simply because I believe most are
>not walking - if I knew the rules were enforced
>I at least can respect the event.
Most Intl & Natl level athletes are complying with the rules. Exceptions are, just that, exceptions. The rules are enforced, for the most part, although there is a definite need to better educate judges and coaches as to what constitutes legal walking from a biomechanical standpoint.
>want to see the walks discontinued - why take
>away a fan base when we are trying to grow the
>sport? Simply enforce the rules
Wonder how the walkers would
>respond to being monitored electronically?
The RWers want to remain being judged by people, although better educated ones. If we start using non-human judging, then we need to do the same for hurdling and relay exchanges too. This would be the end of the sport as we know it.
I disagree that non-human judging will ruin our sport - we already use it to determine false starts - no one is complaining there. The beauty of our sport is how totally OBJECTIVE it is. No points for "form". The reason walks are scoffed at by so many is that they are so SUBJECTIVE (judges). It is not too difficult to observe a hurdle infraction - only slightly more difficult to observe a exchange zone infraction. Compare that to trying to watch each of 30,000 or so strides of each of 100+ competitors in a 50k - it's just not doable to the level of "OBJECTIVITY" required by the average T&F fan.
Before 1980 we ran in N.J. like every other state the mile and the 2-mile. When we went metric in 1980 we ran the 1500 and the 3000. Less than two years later we switched to the 1600 and the 3200. The reason given was that the national association (to this day I don't know what association) said that the 1500 and 3000 was too confusing for the spectators and athletes because the races were not full laps. The funny thing was that as a coach and spectator I didn't see any such confusion. Only the track purists look at them as being "bastard distances." All it would take to running a full mile or 2 mile would be a couple of extra lines drawn across the track. I don't think that will happen. Some things don't make logical sense and that's just one of them.
>OK- this one should be fun. What events should
>be eliminated from track and field- and
My pick: race walking. Why: Boring.
>Chases off fans. Inconsistent with the rest of
>track. (It's not just about getting to the
>finish first- it's about getting to the finish
>first while adhering to a set of rules about
>knee position and contact w/ground.)
I agree with this. The walks are inconsistent with what track is about. The walks suck. They suck more than anything has ever sucked before. I also agree that the high schools should either go to a true mile or to 1500 meters. My preferance would be the mile. How hard is it to have a waterfall line 9 or so meters back of the finish line?