The last letter published in the back of the July 2004 issue of T&FN questions the running of the 1600/3200 distances in high school. I could not agree more. These two distances are apropos to nothing. In keeping with other threads around here, if we want to increase interest in T&F they really should be the imperial mile/2 mile. But at least if they were the 1500/3000, they would be basis of comparison to other relevant marks. As it is – as the letter states – if you run a four minute 1600, what do you have? Who knows, who cares?
This is all apparently dictated by the National Federation of State High School Federations (NFHS). A while back I contacted the official from my state high school federation that handles T&F issues. His take was: "The 1600's relativity to 4 minutes makes it a much more interesting event on the high school level and the fact that both races are 4/8 full laps make them easier to understand for high school fans."
My response to these is that while I see some small validity to the 4/8 lap ease of understanding argument (although apparently the folks in Oregon, Hawaii, Rhode Island and the girls in New York have been able to successfully get their minds around the 1500/3000), the four minute argument seems a stretch. For one, most high schoolers get nowhere near four minutes, and if one of them did run a four minute 1600, what do you have?? A four minute something that is not a four minute mile. This seems more a rational to go back to the mile.
Last edited by fizbin on Fri Jun 25, 2004 1:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
>I say keep the 1600/3200 combo if only to piss off the rest of the world!!
That would be nice if the rest of the world knew about it. I don't think they know.
When I first came to the US, I was surprised to find that imperial measurements were still taught in the schools. I was even more surprised when I discovered that the few newspaper articles on track and field had converted all the metric measurements into feet.
I still get confused about how many ounces in a foot or how many inches in a pound.
Last edited by Daisy on Fri Jun 25, 2004 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
>If the 1600/3200 is irrelevant, what about the 1500/3000?
>I mean why run races of 3-3/4 and 7-1/2 laps?
I agree with you that the the 1500 was irrelevant when it was first instigated, but once the distance was set, and now run for decades, why would anyone choose a third alternative. Especially since all the senior athletes in the US run the 1500 or mile but never the 1600.
Why not forget the distances altogether and just run in units of laps. Throw out the standardised tracks and just run laps of what ever track the local high school has at hand. Whether 300m, 300 yards 345.5 yards.
Last edited by Daisy on Fri Jun 25, 2004 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
On this matter we agree: The rest of the world does not compete at 1,600m/3,200m. When ranking these junior and high school athletes against their world peers, one looks at either 1,500m/3,000m/5,000m lists, or they look at head-to-head competition at international competitions. I personally don:t care if the Americans run 1,200 meters, 1,600m, 2,000m or any other distance in their own country. I am concerned with whatever prepares them to get to the next level (collegiate or circuit), where the standard distances are set at 1,500m and 5,000m. If they run 100m further per race than the rest of the world, so be it... maybe somewhere along this path those extra 100m of racing will help them become better adept at racing the "shorter" 1,500m distance.
I wonder how many older HS tracks have been converted to 400m. I suspect most new construction is 400m, but there are probably a lot of 440y tracks still out there. If HS runners are posting a "1600" time on an old 440y track it's a mile... if it's on a newer 400m track the're about 10y short. How do you compare the two...? With an * maybe...? If your school has an old 440y track and you're running the 400m is the finish line at 437.44y... etc...?
I couldn't agree more with the idea of getting rid of the 1600m/3200m distances. They should either run the mile, for example, or 1500m. Just another example of an arcane approach in our favorite sport, and does nothing but confuse everyone, and turn off the casual fan.
most US high school tracks not built in the last 20 years are likely 440 yard. they have all kinds of different colored markings and staggers to accomodate all kinds of races in meters now. it's really pretty confusing.
Last edited by basehead617 on Fri Jun 25, 2004 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Let's suppose you've got a school with 1000 students. 95% of them will take PE (or gym). They've all, including the girls, done laps around the track. They all know they are running a "quarter" or a "440" or a "400" because that's what the coaches and their peers call it.
If a student comes up to you and asks you what event you run, here's how I think it goes:
"I run the 100." - they know it's the short sprint. They don't care if it's 100 yards or meters.
"I run the 200." - they know it's a half lap. Doesn't matter that it's not a 220.
"I run the 400." - they know it's a lap. Doesn't matter that it's not a 440.
"I run the 800." - they can figure out that it's two laps pretty quick because they understand the 400 is one lap. Plus, it's within a second of a half mile.
"I run the 1600." - The what? What is that?
"I run the 3200." - ???!!!
Once you get beyond a quarter, they all relate to the mile, because it's the longest basic measure of distance in this country. Half mile, mile, two mile, it's all quick and easy.
I don't really think high schoolers need to be "prepared" to run international distances. They understand that everything is going to change anyway when they move up to college or go pro. The hurdles change, the weights change. There's nothing wrong with running the mile and two mile in HS and then running the 1500 and 3000 or 5000 in college. We've been doing it for years.
i dont know.......im fine with the 1600. if you say "i run the 16" i know exactly what is being talked about. it is perfectly logical and just as logical as the 15 or so called "metric mile" as is is. the time is very close to a real mile time and this 4 minute barrier isnt that big a deal anymore anyway. the point is it is a race. whoever gets to the finish first wins. obviously not enough people cared when they converted from the mile to the 15.
ok, not a whole lot of that makes sense but anyway. why would we want to go backwards and go to the mile. i say either lets move to the 15 or all shut up.
Being a sprinter, and having people think you are fast is one thing. but my experience, especially in high school, is that even though you may be a sprinter and people may think you are fast, the only thing that gives them an idea of how fast you are is asking you, "how fast do you run a mile?" that always pissed me off. IM A 400 METER RUNNER DAMMIT! at first i would say that i dont run the mile and i dont know how fast i could run it, but then i eventually decided to say that i can run a 4 minute mile. they dont really know how fast that is compared to other track runners anyway so whos it gonna hurt right?
>you must have never been around high school track
Not true, although it is not an everyday venue. And I exaggerated a tad - I have heard folks say they run the 16. But I've not heard them call themselves 1600 meterers. 1600 or 1500, the common term is milers.
Last edited by fizbin on Fri Jun 25, 2004 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Guys, WHO CARES!! In HS, I ran races that were "named" 1600, Mile, 1500, 2 Mile, 3200, Half-mile, 800, 880, etc. See the point...it's POINTLESS as an athlete. As a runner and now, a spectator, all I care about is the race. It concerns me NOT what the exact distance is; only how fast it was run, who the winner is, and how the race was run. It's getting more and more that we as fans/followers/spectators get more "ticky" about what the exact distance is, rather than "concerning" ourselves with the sport itself. I say keep the 16 and 32 and LET IT BE.
>Guys, WHO CARES!! In HS, I ran races that were "named" 1600, Mile, 1500, 2
>Mile, 3200, Half-mile, 800, 880, etc. See the point...it's POINTLESS as an
>athlete. As a runner and now, a spectator, all I care about is the race. It
>concerns me NOT what the exact distance is; only how fast it was run, who the
>winner is, and how the race was run. It's getting more and more that we as
>fans/followers/spectators get more "ticky" about what the exact distance is,
>rather than "concerning" ourselves with the sport itself. I say keep the 16
>and 32 and LET IT BE.
How many people would have tuned in to see the
dream 1600 versus the dream mile. I would not
have watched the dream 1600. I was to new to the sport. I did watch Coe win the dream mile.
>It concerns me NOT what the exact distance is; only how fast it was run, who the
>winner is, and how the race was run.
Part of the enjoyment of T&F for many/most of us is to compare the results of a race or field event against past results. Who knows who has the HS 1600 meter record or what it is (probably Alan Webb, but I could not tell for sure without looking it up), but we all know that Alan Webb 3:53 broke Jim Ryun's 3:55.
We all enjoy the event as it is taking place, but when you get most of your information in the way of results from T&FN and other (yes, there are other) sources we compare them against other results as a reference. How does this HS 1600 meter time compare against a 1500 time from elsewhere in the world, or a mile time from the past? Hard to tell . . .
How do you practice for the 1500? 5x750? 10X375? How about 20X137.5? 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500?? What were my splits coach? 62, 62, 62, 46.5. Who is running the 4X375M relay at today's meet. WHICH IS THE NON EVENT????
>How do you practice for the 1500? 5x750? 10X375? How about 20X137.5? 100, 200,
>400, 800, 1500?? What were my splits coach? 62, 62, 62, 46.5. Who is running
>the 4X375M relay at today's meet. WHICH IS THE NON EVENT????
I would run 3x500
I guess the 5000 is a non event too.
Last edited by bellows23 on Fri Jun 25, 2004 6:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
skyinbrian - Sure, you knew what you meant when you said you ran the 16. The question is, did anyone else?
There are spheres of interest here. Hardcore track fans and competitors can make the jump and relate different distances. They may not like it, but they can and are motivated to do it. The semi-initiated won't know right off about the 16, but they sure as heck will know the mile, maybe even a few names like Jim Ryun or Sebastian Coe. The barely initiated will still know the mile and can get excited about it because, heck, it's a mile. It's got some history. The uninitiated won't know squat, but they still know how far a mile is because every sign and marker in their world is in miles.
Once every four years we are all going to sit down and watch a 1500 and we'll all figure out about the 15. Until then, let's not drive people away, all other things being equal.
I discount fast 1,600m splits on DMs due to two factors: flying starts and the conversions needed to make the race a full mile. Although an athlete runs 3.59,9 in a DM, I have to assume that athlete was at - or about - 4.02,4y ... big difference between this 1,600m split time and an open mile.
Last edited by EPelle on Sat Jun 26, 2004 4:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
>skyinbrian - Sure, you knew what you meant when you said you ran the 16. The
>question is, did anyone else?
There are spheres of interest here. Hardcore
>track fans and competitors can make the jump and relate different distances.
>They may not like it, but they can and are motivated to do it. The
>semi-initiated won't know right off about the 16, but they sure as heck will
>know the mile, maybe even a few names like Jim Ryun or Sebastian Coe. The
>barely initiated will still know the mile and can get excited about it
>because, heck, it's a mile. It's got some history. The uninitiated won't
>know squat, but they still know how far a mile is because every sign and
>marker in their world is in miles.
Once every four years we are all going
>to sit down and watch a 1500 and we'll all figure out about the 15. Until
>then, let's not drive people away, all other things being equal.
i dont think this argument makes sense as far as driving people away. us hardcore fans wont be driven away by strange distances and to the average sports fan attending a high school track meet the 1600M=1mile. sure, we all know this isnt so, but people that arent track nerds do not really care about those last 9 or so meters.
and i think it was brought up on another thread that the mile and 15 make no more intrinsic sense than the 16. i mean, it is just natural to come to this race: 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600. see the pattern? this may actually be less confusint than going 800, mile. so, i think that either push for all imperial distances, or push for the 1500 since that is the international event. but for all purposes of most high school spectators and high school athletes for that matter the 16 is the mile.