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It's all arbitrary anyhow.
Why not try it? 1/20/2012 1:31PM - in reply to yad Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Well, that is kind of silly. But does illustrate that any distance for a race is arbitrary.

From Wikipedia:

"Originally intended to be one ten-millionth of the distance from the Earth's equator to the North Pole (at sea level), its definition has been periodically refined to reflect growing knowledge of metrology. Since 1983, it is defined as the length of the path travelled by light in vacuum in 1 ⁄ 299,792,458 of a second."

Again from Wikipedia:

"The yard ...was first defined in law by Edward I of England in 1305, and again by Edward III of England in 1353. Edward I's law stated "It is ordained that three grains of barley, dry and round, make an inch; 12 inches make a foot; 3 feet make an "ulna" (yard)...."

Nothing make a meter less arbitrary or more useful than a yard, except that it is part of a base ten SI system (and that of course is very important in general, but not necessarily for athletics).


The different races are actually meant to allow contest by different sorts of running specialists, roughly short sprinters, long sprinters, middle distance, distance, and ultradistance. In these terms, we could just as meaningfully choose a range of distance. But we have settled on standard distances of 100, 200, 400, 800, 1500, 5000, etc.... This is all fine, especially for international competitions.

But sport is full of historical artifact (eg, quarter horses will always race one quarter of a mile- how absurd to change that to 400 meters), all of which enrich the experience of participation and spectating. The mile distance is just one of those.

What we are should be debating is whether running the mile frequently ( but no one said to the exclusion of the 1500) might help to increase the popularity of track in America. Not whether the 1500, 1600, or the mile are more or less sensible as racing distance.

Given the reality that track is not popular (despite the millions of recreational runners), is it not worth trying.





yad wrote:

To keep consistency with the metric system, we ought to get rid of the 400, 800, and marathon too. Proposed standard distances: 500, 1k, 1.5k, 3k, 5k, 10k, 20k, 40k.
Fromunda Cheese
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 2:31PM - in reply to Oh You Know Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Oh You Know wrote:

I think we should start eliminating the mile. The US needs to switch to the metric system because it actually makes sense.


I was told in second grade that we would be converting to the metric system. That was 40 years ago. What we have now is a choatic blend of measurements. But it seems to work out fine.

I put GALLONS of gas in my car, drive 10 MILES to run a 5 KILOMETER race in which I am given MILE splits. When I am done, I drive 3 more MILES to the store, buy a POUND of chicken, 2 LITERS of soda, and a GALLON of milk. I then sit on my sofa, drinking 12 OUNCE bottles of beer to see how many YARDS Tim Tebow can run/pass.

Should the US change the length of our football fields to 100 meters? Should 1st base be 30 meters from home plate?

maybe everything is fine how it is. Except the effin 1600 and 3200. They are just plain stupid!!
toro
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 2:35PM - in reply to miler manatee Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
The conversion a 1.08 multiplier

The mile is about 1.073 times the 1500
You run a slightly slower 1500 pace en route to the mile.

The WR ratio of El G is 1.083, 16.3 s difference
Here are ratios and time difference of other famous milers:

Lagat - 1.101 20.94 s
Webb - 1.078 16.37 s
Ngeny - 1.073 15.28 s
Scott - 1.075 15.93 s
Coe - 1.084 17.56 s
Morceli 1.082 17.02 s
Cram - 1.079 16.65 s
Aouita- 1.080 16.86 s

Some people had a better race at the mile, some at 1500.
But 1.08 looks like a pretty good conversion.
Notice those with a ratio under 1.80 are more known for their mile time.
Lagat never ran a great mile and his ratio is way off.

Any conversion is an estimate.
I would hate to see a converted mile time knock off someone with a true 1500m time on a provisional list.
Mile High Air
RE: Why not try it? 1/20/2012 2:43PM - in reply to It's all arbitrary anyhow. Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I really don't understand the aversion to this, especially at the high school level. Everyone here is aware of just how rare an occurrence a sub-4:00 mile is in high school. Even people in the non-running community are probably aware of its significance. It is the standard for the best of the best. Conversions aside, nobody cares about the 1600. Nobody talks about how many kids have run 3:42 and change at the prep level. People don't write books about that. Even a sub-4:10 mile is quite an achievement. It will raise the level of awareness from the bottom up. Why not give it a go? What will be lost versus what will be gained by making the switch or at least giving more focus to the mile?
iiuuyy
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 3:41PM - in reply to Be Open Minded Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Joe 6 Pack won't be watching track and field whether or not there is a mile. Is he watching indoor ncaa championships? The last time I looked there is a mile at that meet. Are people rushing the gates because they can't get enough of the ncaa indoor mile? No. It wont help outdoor either. Deal with it.
Rtype
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 3:59PM - in reply to iiuuyy Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
At a time when some colleges are tearing up their tracks and eliminating track and field, high schools are having to make hard choices financially and weed out the low interest sports (TRACK), attendance at track meets is dropping, and TV viewership is waning, I think some action needs to occur to increase interest.

Without public interest Track and Field will cease to exist. The general public in the US does not identify with the 1500. It is utterly meaningless to them. Money to support Track and Field is drying up! And why not? If no one is interested anymore then why waste money on a dead sport?

Id like to think bringing back the mile is just the first of a number of creative ideas to increase interest in our sport.

I hope it has not already passed the point of no return. If not, that time is drawing near.
jclemence
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 4:34PM - in reply to Men are Silly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Men are Silly wrote:

This outdated 4-minute "barrier" was invented and perpetuated by men who need to feel important, but were lacking in any useful or notable skills.


Roger Bannister became a distinguished neurologist after his running career. In fact, he was in medical school when he broke 4.
Men are Silly
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 4:39PM - in reply to clearing the bs up Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

clearing the bs up wrote:

(1) ...It is a distance that people can relate to, understand, and are in awe of...

(2)...If you told the average person you ran a mile in 3:59, they would be very impressed.



(1) No it's not.

(2) The average person would not be impressed. You are grossly exaggerating the average person's knowledge of or interest in footraces.
DrBison
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 4:47PM - in reply to clearing the bs up Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
And now for something you'll really like ...

How bout we switch to the metric minute (and hour)? 100 seconds to the minute, 100 minutes to the hour. Who's with me?
Faculty Lounge Brilliance
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 5:24PM - in reply to Rtype Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
It's hard to fathom how people on this board can fail to understand the mystique of the mile in the US. Since you are presumably all connected to running, whenever the subject of running comes up, the only thing that most Americans will relate to is the mile.

Running is a natural activity to any active person. And distance running - in America - is defined by the mile.

I've coached for 25 years, and I still automatically add a rough 20 seconds to a 1500 time to make it relevant. People who are not distance runners or coaches DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT 1500 METERS OR 3000 METERS OR 10,000 METERS and their eyes glaze over unless you convert everything in terms of the mile. It means nothing to them as Americans because they are AMERICANS who refer to distance in miles, not kilometers. Even many distance runners use the mile as their standard of distance accomplishment, even if they've only raced the 1600 in high school or middle school, or 1500 in college.

There's nothing wrong with 1500 in international races, except for the goofiness of starting on the back side of the track. But, as is understood by most Americans, virtually all distance prowess comes down to one question, "What can you run the mile in?"

It's hard to believe every person on this board doesn't hear this question every time the subject of running is broached. Just recently, I was talking to some 19 and 20 year old roofers who had never run track before. "What can your fastest kid run the mile in?" they asked. I told them and they started discussing what they had run the mile in. One even knew that the teammate of a grade school friend of theirs had broken 4:10 in the mile in high school. They all understood that was another universe from their abilities, and were actually impressed. Imagine average Americans impressed by a distance effort that is not the marathon.

Like most Americans, they knew nothing about anything else associated with track and field. Not Bolt, not Webb, and certainly not any of the Africans.

The universal experience with the mile is part of the reason why when I was a boy, Jim Ryan's races were talked about by non-distance runners (and shown on TV, although that day is probably gone.) This is also why 4:00 is magic and usually the only great running accomplishment understood by the average American.

Foreigners have an excuse, but are the only Americans you talk to on your cross team, or worse, here on LetsRun?
Charlie Citizen
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 5:38PM - in reply to DrBison Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Hi I am new to this forum, just happened to see it and I agree that a sub 4 minute mile is very important!

Just last week my grandson broke 4 minutes for a mile in his P.E. class and he's 14 and just started running but he's very talented!

I don't understand that meters and stuff.
clearing the bs up
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 5:47PM - in reply to Men are Silly Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Men are Silly wrote:

(1) No it's not.

(2) The average person would not be impressed. You are grossly exaggerating the average person's knowledge of or interest in footraces.


Your response tells me everything I need to know regarding your lack of knowledge about the history of this sport.

1) Don't be ignorant

- How fast do people drive in the united states? Answer: MILES per hour
- How do people measure distance? Answer: MILES
- How do people gauge fuel use? Answer: MILES per gallon
- What distance did kids use to run in gym class? Answer: THE MILE

2) The average person would be impressed because of my above point - that they can relate to it, which is something you don't seem to understand. A 1500m time means nothing to the average person in this country but people can relate to the mile and so they can put it into context. When they know they once ran a mile in 9 or 10 minutes and you tell them that you ran a mile in 3:59, they will be impressed. If you tell them that you ran 1500m in 3:41, they won't know what the hell you're talking about.


"Blink and you miss a sprint. The 10,000 meters is lap after lap of waiting. Theatrically, the mile is just the right length - beginning, middle, end, a story unfolding." - Seb Coe

"The 800-meter record, the records in the 1,000, the 1,500, the 5,000, the relays - no one remembers them. The mile, they remember. Only the mile" - John Walker

"People wondered whether it was the limit of human capability - could anyone possibly run a mile that fast?" - John Landy

"The mile has all the elements of drama" - Roger Bannister

"Running is metric today, and more than anything else middle-distance runners advance their careers by posting superior metric marks. But room must still be made for the mile. It's the mile that truly challenges a runner's limits; it's the mile that captures the public's attention. One strategy to preserve the mile could be to allow individuals to qualify for major 1500 meter championships with an equivalent mile time. This might entice meet promoters, particularly in the United States and England, to include the mile on their program, thus protecting it from becoming an odd curiosity that's only contested occasionally. Favoritism? Special treatment? Maybe, but after all, shouldn't special steps always be taken to protect a world treasure?" - Epilogue of Bannister and Beyond: The Mystique of the Four-Minute Mile
yad
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 5:51PM - in reply to Faculty Lounge Brilliance Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Exactly right. The mile actually still permeates running at all levels, especially in the US. Everyone talks about it all the time, and it is fundamental to any discussion of training. You run "X miles per week". When you say you ran an "x:xx pace" you mean x:xx per mile. So it shouldn't be surprising that your "mile PR" will have some resonance to people, regardless of what they run in the olympics.


Faculty Lounge Brilliance wrote:

It's hard to fathom how people on this board can fail to understand the mystique of the mile in the US. Since you are presumably all connected to running, whenever the subject of running comes up, the only thing that most Americans will relate to is the mile.

Running is a natural activity to any active person. And distance running - in America - is defined by the mile.

I've coached for 25 years, and I still automatically add a rough 20 seconds to a 1500 time to make it relevant. People who are not distance runners or coaches DON'T GIVE A DAMN ABOUT 1500 METERS OR 3000 METERS OR 10,000 METERS and their eyes glaze over unless you convert everything in terms of the mile. It means nothing to them as Americans because they are AMERICANS who refer to distance in miles, not kilometers. Even many distance runners use the mile as their standard of distance accomplishment, even if they've only raced the 1600 in high school or middle school, or 1500 in college.

There's nothing wrong with 1500 in international races, except for the goofiness of starting on the back side of the track. But, as is understood by most Americans, virtually all distance prowess comes down to one question, "What can you run the mile in?"

It's hard to believe every person on this board doesn't hear this question every time the subject of running is broached. Just recently, I was talking to some 19 and 20 year old roofers who had never run track before. "What can your fastest kid run the mile in?" they asked. I told them and they started discussing what they had run the mile in. One even knew that the teammate of a grade school friend of theirs had broken 4:10 in the mile in high school. They all understood that was another universe from their abilities, and were actually impressed. Imagine average Americans impressed by a distance effort that is not the marathon.

Like most Americans, they knew nothing about anything else associated with track and field. Not Bolt, not Webb, and certainly not any of the Africans.

The universal experience with the mile is part of the reason why when I was a boy, Jim Ryan's races were talked about by non-distance runners (and shown on TV, although that day is probably gone.) This is also why 4:00 is magic and usually the only great running accomplishment understood by the average American.

Foreigners have an excuse, but are the only Americans you talk to on your cross team, or worse, here on LetsRun?
TFN subscriber
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 5:57PM - in reply to ashjk Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
I'm not going to read all 5 pages, so my apologies if this has already been mentioned. I think that if Track % Field News and all smaller sources (including letsrun.com) took a stance and just said, "We will not publish any results for any race that is 1600m. We will NOT convert the times. We will simply ignore all results from all 1600m races." The athletes and coaches would quickly pressure the meets to make it a mile. And the fact is it is SO simple. It's not as if any reconstruction has to be done. Just paint a new line. It's not like adjustable barriers for steeple, or changing the height of basketball nets. Just paint a new line. My 2 cents.
Hereyougo
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 6:15PM - in reply to RD Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

RD wrote:

Get with the program. The rest of the world uses the metric system, why can't the US get it's head out of it's bum and join the rest of the world?


Because we don't have to, and shouldn't.

We have our own system of measurement and that is the way things are.

We're not going to conform to the rest of the world because the rest of the world wants us to.

Who gives a shit anyways if things are measured in miles or kilometers, inches or centimeters?
they don't care
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 6:30PM - in reply to Hereyougo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Hereyougo wrote:

We're not going to conform to the rest of the world because the rest of the world wants us to.



The rest of the world wants us to switch? I've never heard anyone from another country say that they'd like for us to use the metric system. I've only ever heard Americans make the argument that we should switch. I don't think anyone else cares.
Med School Runner
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 6:32PM - in reply to jclemence Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Wow, you just got frickin' owned. The first man to do it was an accomplished and celebrated neurologist with numerous contributions to his field.

Why are you so bitter?


jclemence wrote:


Men are Silly wrote:

This outdated 4-minute "barrier" was invented and perpetuated by men who need to feel important, but were lacking in any useful or notable skills.


Roger Bannister became a distinguished neurologist after his running career. In fact, he was in medical school when he broke 4.
mediocre miler
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 6:33PM - in reply to ashjk Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Heck, I love running the mile. But I love running the 1500 too. Hope to get fit and run both this year in some GEEZER meets. I'll be one of those old farts trying to break 5:00 (or 4:40 in the 1500).
mediocre miler
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 6:36PM - in reply to mediocre miler Reply | Return to Index | Report Post
Come to think of it, I like the 1500 better, maybe 'cause my PR of 4:01.0 is better than my mile of 4:20.9. Yes, these are from the days of hand timing (late 1970s).
Men are Silly
RE: bring back the mile campaign 1/20/2012 6:37PM - in reply to Hereyougo Reply | Return to Index | Report Post

Hereyougo wrote:

Who gives a shit anyways if things are measured in miles or kilometers, inches or centimeters?


According to the silly willies on this thread, all those "average" track spectators care.

Apparently more of them would attend meets in the U.S. if we used our antiquated, outdated, globally provincial measuring system (miles) rather than the internationally accepted metric system.

Probably not.
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