Mile News


The 3:49.4 Special

August 25, 1975

He had promised to go for the Mile record, and New Zealand's John Walker delivered, smashing the old mark by 1.6 seconds

By Kenny Moore, Sports Illustrated

As Roger Bannister had 21 years earlier, John Walker worried about the wind. He had talked the officials at the meet in Goteborg, Sweden into changing the distance of his race from 1500 meters to a full Mile, promising an attempt at the world record of 3:51.0 held by Filbert Bayi. "It was the one night I was going to do something," Walker said afterward. "Throughout this European tour I had been annoyed with myself. I'd won a lot and accomplished nothing. But then in the morning it began blowing quite hard. I watched the flags, the trees bending. It worried me."

Before the 8:45 p.m. race on Aug. 12, Walker spoke to Goran Sowemark, a Swedish 800-meter runner who was to be his pacemaker for the first two laps. Walker wanted the half-Mile run in 1:55, and he wanted it done smoothly, without a nervous sprint over the first half-lap. Two weeks earlier, the 23-year-old Walker had run 1,500 meters in Oslo, blazing the first 200 in 25.4, the first 400 in 54 seconds, and had held on well to clock 3:32.4, only .2 from the world record (also Bayi's) for that distance, and according to track statisticians the equal of a 3:49.4 Mile. Now, he reasoned, a more economical distribution of effort ought to yield a good Mile. Since he had run a 3:52.2 in Stockholm in July, defeating Marty Liquori, and did not consider it much of an accomplishment, a good Mile had to mean a record.

Continue reading at: sportsillustrated.com

Tags: roger bannister (148) , new zealand (6) , marty liquori (26) , john walker (19) , filbert bayi (9)

Facebook Comments

Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

ELEVATE
Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

CELEBRATE
Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

NATIONAL MOVEMENT
Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!