Why 1600m in high school?


Forum devoted to track & field items of an historical nature.

Postby kuha » Thu May 11, 2006 12:19 pm

gh wrote:Unfortunately, I can't cite the source, so this remains in the unsubstantiated column, but I read somewhere once that De Coubertin (being the proper Frenchman that he was) simply would not countenance using an English distance like the mile. That would have been akin to eating a chunk of Stilton with his Côte du Rhone!

If one extrapolates that kind of thinking to the French establishment as a whole (given Gallic/Anglo relations at that point, not much of a leap of faith), one can imagine that when the first French Champs came around they said (continuing the wine allusion) "no f***ing mile!" I could see the "logic" in running the 400 and 800, so there was a direct parallel to the established Brit and American times, but still refusing to run a mile. And if the track was a 500 (which the one for the '00 Paris Olympics was), then 3 laps was perfectly "logical."

(Do we know that they actually ran the 400 and 800 in those early French Champs, or did they perhaps run 500 and 1000?)


This correlates exactly to what I suspect is the case. As I said above, the 1500m was deemed to be "enough" like the mile to not be useless, but different enough to not be English. And the importance of that last requirement should NOT be underestimated. In the late 1880s, the relative quality of French t&f athletics to English was about akin to my running ability vs. Bekele's.
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Postby gh » Thu May 11, 2006 12:30 pm

A great thread by the way. We don't get nearly enough of these, with people taking the time to expostulate at some depth after doing some good thinking/research. (The current Rupp/asthma thread is also a wonder, at least if you like medicine.)
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Postby bad hammy » Thu May 11, 2006 12:51 pm

And I would add a BIG thank you to T&FN for continuing to maintain the mile and 2 mile as the standard on their high school lists. A voice of reason in the sea of HS 16/32 insanity.
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Postby kuha » Thu May 11, 2006 1:04 pm

bad hammy wrote:And I would add a BIG thank you to T&FN for continuing to maintain the mile and 2 mile as the standard on their high school lists. A voice of reason in the sea of HS 16/32 insanity.


YES!
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Postby skyin' brian » Thu May 11, 2006 1:15 pm

bad hammy wrote:And I would add a BIG thank you to T&FN for continuing to maintain the mile and 2 mile as the standard on their high school lists. A voice of reason in the sea of HS 16/32 insanity.


yeah, because the 2 mile is run about as often as the 100 yard dash or 440.

when i was in high school(class or '01), at least in illinois they ran 3 miles in cross country in the fall, is this preferable to the 5k, or some other k distance. any thoughts on cross country distances? or do those not even really matter since variance in courses. oh well, i guess at least there people appreciate the RACES rather than complain about it being ~9 meters too short.
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Postby tafnut » Thu May 11, 2006 2:43 pm

bad hammy wrote:And I would add a BIG thank you to T&FN for continuing to maintain the mile and 2 mile as the standard on their high school lists. A voice of reason in the sea of HS 16/32 insanity.


Nice try, but paraphrasing pego's sig, paraphrasing someone else, 'dat's NOT the fact, Jack!' If you check T&FN's HS lists, they do NOT list the 2-mile; they list the 3200 (but inexplicably DO list the Mile). HA . . . HA . . . HA
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Postby gh » Thu May 11, 2006 3:04 pm

actually, there's some major confusion there at this point: boys side has both 3000 and 3200 insteda of the melded-together 2M, but the girls side is just the 2M (as it should be!)
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Postby bekeselassie » Thu May 11, 2006 3:43 pm

gh wrote:A great thread by the way. We don't get nearly enough of these, with people taking the time to expostulate at some depth after doing some good thinking/research. (The current Rupp/asthma thread is also a wonder, at least if you like medicine.)


Have you even been reading my posts?
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Postby bad hammy » Thu May 11, 2006 4:17 pm

tafnut wrote:
bad hammy wrote:And I would add a BIG thank you to T&FN for continuing to maintain the mile and 2 mile as the standard on their high school lists. A voice of reason in the sea of HS 16/32 insanity.


Nice try, but paraphrasing pego's sig, paraphrasing someone else, 'dat's NOT the fact, Jack!' If you check T&FN's HS lists, they do NOT list the 2-mile; they list the 3200 (but inexplicably DO list the Mile). HA . . . HA . . . HA

Nice try, but paraphrasing pego's sig, paraphrasing someone else, 'dat's NOT the fact, Jack!'

Check the May issue of T&FN. Mile, 2 Mile.
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Postby kuha » Thu May 11, 2006 4:51 pm

Ah ha! I found a book I knew I had--Les Courses a Pied et les Concours Athletiques (Paris: 1911), an early history of French athletics. The results of the national championship meets are given in the back. The events included in their first (1888) championship were (all meters, of course): 100, 400, 1500, 110HH, 4k steeple, and....that's it. The 300 was run pretty consistently between 1893 and 1910. The 10k began in 1905; the 200 and 5k apparently only began in 1908. Etc. Not sure why no jumps or weight events at all are shown. If this is, indeed, the full early program--it is a complete joke compared to what the Brits and Americans had been doing for more than a decade.....
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Postby bad hammy » Sat May 13, 2006 5:26 am

bad hammy wrote:
tafnut wrote:
bad hammy wrote:And I would add a BIG thank you to T&FN for continuing to maintain the mile and 2 mile as the standard on their high school lists. A voice of reason in the sea of HS 16/32 insanity.


Nice try, but paraphrasing pego's sig, paraphrasing someone else, 'dat's NOT the fact, Jack!' If you check T&FN's HS lists, they do NOT list the 2-mile; they list the 3200 (but inexplicably DO list the Mile). HA . . . HA . . . HA

Nice try, but paraphrasing pego's sig, paraphrasing someone else, 'dat's NOT the fact, Jack!'

Check the May issue of T&FN. Mile, 2 Mile.

And, poking around the site here, again there is (thankfully) no list for the 16/32 (except for girls outdoor 32 record, for some reason):

http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/record ... cords.html
http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/record ... cords.html
http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/lists/ ... _at_m.html
http://www.trackandfieldnews.com/lists/ ... _at_w.html
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Postby DaveW » Sat May 13, 2006 9:53 am

Dirt track, cinder track, synthetic track ... mile, 1500, 1600 ... the evolution continues, but in the end it comes down to the performance of a runner at a particular time and place under the prevailing conditions. I think most runners accept this concept and don't really care how their results are adjusted, analyzed or compared over time by the statisticians, accountants and data crunchers of track and field. More time should be spent on discussing the character of a performance than on which conversion table is most accurate to the decimal place.
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Postby DaveW » Sat May 13, 2006 3:07 pm

What is the T&F bible conversion from the 1600 to the mile and from the 3200 to the two mile?
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Postby bad hammy » Sat May 13, 2006 3:57 pm

DaveW wrote:What is the T&F bible conversion from the 1600 to the mile and from the 3200 to the two mile?

Don't know about the Bible. I've been using this online converter here: http://www.milesplit.com/calc/gatfxc
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Postby tandfman » Sat May 13, 2006 6:20 pm

DaveW wrote:What is the T&F bible conversion from the 1600 to the mile and from the 3200 to the two mile?

Multiply the 1600m/3200m time by 1.0058.
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Postby dj » Mon May 15, 2006 5:52 am

gh wrote:
dj wrote:The Athens track in 1896 was one-third of a kilometer, 333.33 meters.


And DJ knows this because he ran a lap of it in 1982 under the noon sun, and boy was that a bitch!


Ah, yes, I remember it well! Decided on a whim, with an unnamed associate whose initials are egh, to run a lap on an Olympic stadium track. (Unbeknownst to each other, we'd each been collecting such occasions.)

I'd have sworn the track was 600m that day, as we only jogged the straight down to the closed end of the horseshoe, then gave up with the pretext of wanting to read a bronze marker which spoke of de Coubertin and the founding of the modern Olympic movement.

We walked the other straight.
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Postby Halfmiler2 » Mon May 15, 2006 6:06 am

And I'll bet both staights were uphill. :wink:
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby kuha » Wed Aug 15, 2012 6:34 am

Bump for Marlow...and there may be a few more such relevant threads.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby Marlow » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:09 am

kuha wrote:Bump for Marlow...and there may be a few more such relevant threads.


kuha's (most probably right) take:

kuha wrote:at some point the French realized that they had to make a transition from the 2/4/8 system to the 5/10 system. The 1500 became the key compromise distance..., whether all of us today like it or not...


but then I see that this tafnut dude had an equally plausible explanation:

tafnut wrote:The story I got was that Baron de Coubertin and a couple of his cronies were sitting around a Paris cafe in 1894 and ol' Bar, half-sloshed, turns to his friends and slurs out, "Hey, I've got a great idea (I'm translating, of course, but y'know my French lingo is impeccable!), let's do this really cool track meet, sorta like the old Greek Olympics - we'll even let other sports in - but no nude wrestling! - and we'll bastardize what the Limeys are running, y'know, 100 yards, the Mile, etc.. Let's really mess with their minds and run some really stupid distance like . . . um . . . one thousand, five hundred meters - that'll blow their mind!"
The rest is, as they say, history.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby Daisy » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:13 am

I think the tafnut dude had a screw loose, I'd have to take anything he says with a grain of salt.

I can't remember which thread, but someone suggested that the origins of the 1500 might be due to the first 100 being on a straight, to limit the number of crashes in the first 50m. That is the most plausible argument i have heard on this topic.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:24 am

Daisy wrote:I think the tafnut dude had a screw loose, I'd have to take anything he says with a grain of salt.


Agree on that. The 1500 talk is now on the Past thread.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby lonewolf » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:36 am

We can all conject ad infinitum but the bottom line is, there is no rational/reasonable/logical reason/excuse for running a 1500 meter race on a 400 meter track. IMO.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:41 am

lonewolf wrote:We can all conject ad infinitum but the bottom line is, there is no rational/reasonable/logical reason/excuse for running a 1500 meter race on a 400 meter track. IMO.


You make it sound like some random event, like getting hit on the head by a meteorite.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby kuha » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:47 am

Conor Dary wrote:
lonewolf wrote:We can all conject ad infinitum but the bottom line is, there is no rational/reasonable/logical reason/excuse for running a 1500 meter race on a 400 meter track. IMO.


You make it sound like some random event, like getting hit on the head by a meteorite.


Indeed! :lol:

Frankly, I've TRIED to lay out the most "logical" explanation for this abomination that I can think of.
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby Daisy » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:52 am

Now I'm confused, which "abomination" are you talking about, the 1600 or the 1500?
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby kuha » Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:57 am

Daisy wrote:Now I'm confused, which "abomination" are you talking about, the 1600 or the 1500?


I'm just throwing grenades in all directions. So far, none have gone off...
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby lonewolf » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:00 am

Conor Dary wrote:
lonewolf wrote:We can all conject ad infinitum but the bottom line is, there is no rational/reasonable/logical reason/excuse for running a 1500 meter race on a 400 meter track. IMO.


You make it sound like some random event, like getting hit on the head by a meteorite.

No,no,no. The 1500m is not random. It is an evil, deliberate corruption of logical multiples of racing distance consistent with the dimensions of the track...and a threat to world peace. :)
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:03 am

lonewolf wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:
lonewolf wrote:We can all conject ad infinitum but the bottom line is, there is no rational/reasonable/logical reason/excuse for running a 1500 meter race on a 400 meter track. IMO.


You make it sound like some random event, like getting hit on the head by a meteorite.

No,no,no. The 1500m is not random. It is an evil, deliberate corruption of logical multiples of racing distance consistent with the dimensions of the track...and a threat to world peace. :)


So it really is Obama's fault. :lol:
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby lonewolf » Wed Aug 15, 2012 8:05 am

I am getting confused fighting this battle on two fronts simultaneously, :(
But, I am giving Obama a pass on this one. :)
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Re: Why 1600m in high school?

Postby BBTM media » Sun Aug 19, 2012 8:53 am

When tracks went metric in the late 1970s and early 1980s here, state federations across the country, except Massachusetts (wisely kept the Mile/2 Mile) and a few states who went to the 1500m, took the easy way - four laps, same start and finish line = 1600 meters - "close enough" to a Mile.

What those state federation officials missed, and this was a BIG miss and has hurt the sport at the high school level, is the promotional and media value of the Mile, the most iconic event in the sport (thanks to Roger Bannister). NO American boy has dreamed of breaking 4 minutes for the 1600.

If you would like to see the Mile back at the HS level, join us and sign your state petition to replace the 1600 with the Mile.

http://bringbackthemile.com/home
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