aaronk wrote:Today marks the 40th anniversary of Belgian Emile Puttemans startling 8:13.2 indoor two mile.
It's rare (if it's EVER happened!!) that an INdoor WR is better than an OUTdoor WR!!
It wasn't for lack of trying. Nearly every indoor meet contested a 2-mile while they were relatively rare on the outdoor international scene then (and now). Most--such as Ovett's WR victory over Rono--were special events requested by certain top athletes for a variety of reasons, not the least being the ducking of a too-fit-for-me-right-now opponent or a meet director wanting to have a WR set at his gathering.
Most Europeans didn't care much about the non-metric Mile and even less for the 2-mile. Those were seen by most continentals as "English distances" and as such--again with noted exceptions--mostly took place at sites such as Gateshead or Crystal Palace. [The old Coca-Cola meet at Crystal Palace used to highlight a 2-mile and/or a 2,000m. mostly because it took place late in the season and athletes didn't want to risk their World Rankings by competing when fatigued. England used to pay airfare for athletes from non-European countries with the caveat that they first compete in the UK and then end their seasons there, with negotiated travel to other meets on the European Circuit done in between--which made sense, as most plane flights from the USA, New Zealand, Australia, etc. (as is still true now) were cheaper if the person flew out and in from the same place.]
A real stud could get a meet director to schedule any distance they wanted, even a 2-mile, as long as it could be promoted as a World Record attempt. But few did. There were a relative bunch of races run at this distance @1974-1977, mainly because of the dominance of Walker and Bayi in the Mile/1500m. and studs like Dixon and Liquori beginning the move up to 5,000 meters. Again, wherever and whenever the studs were willing to attempt the WR...
If the number of actual records vs. the number of potential chances were compared, the indoor 2-mile record probably should have been better than the outdoor multiple times.
With a few exceptions, the best indoor distance marks above a Mile were usually achieved by those who possessed two key characteristics: a diminutive stature (for negotiating the curves/banks) and the front-running ability to push hard, with or without competition as most indoor races--at least in the '70's and '80's--were solo affairs with maybe one other A-level runner or two B-level runners also in the race. Think Puttemans, Coghlan (in the Mile, but probably could have gotten the 2-mile also, if desired; but no way meet directors would financially match/dilute the drawing power of the Mile, though), Prefontaine (AR's), etc. A more-modern example would be Gebresalassie.
That said, the Belgian gardner was indeed, physiologically, a first-class stud--and also a sportsman.