In third was
Masback. "I may be wrong, but I think I was in last place with 250 meters
to go," he said. "I ran an awful race. Steve stuck his nose in there
and raced, but all I can say is that I ran. As I settled into my rhythm I began
to fall back—a failure of concentration. The only redeeming factor was that I
was on the inside." Sprinting the last 200 faster than anyone else, Masback
finished in 3:52.1, the third-best ever by an American.
fourth in 3:52.5, a personal best. After recovering, he walked about the
infield saying, "Awesome. Simply awesome."
Robson was fifth in 3:52.8, and Walker was sixth in 3:52.9. After a moment's
deserved profanity, Walker took the loss of his world record like a statesman.
"It had to happen," he said. "I'm glad to have had the chance to be
in the race. I'm only disappointed I couldn't contribute more. Only Scotty got
out and ran. The rest of us all stuffed around." He noted that Coe is now
the first holder of both the 800 and mile records since New Zealand's Peter
Snell in the early '60s, then offered his and his country's highest praise,
saying, "I think Coe would win the double against Snell."
Foster, who has
held world records of his own, appeared beside Walker and put an arm on his
shoulder. "They are meant to be broken," he said.
are," said Walker in fierce assent.
Seventh in a
world-junior-record 3:53.2 was England's Graham Williamson, 19, who had thrown
a shoe on the last turn, a point at which he had gotten as high as third.
Wessinghage was eighth in 3:53.3, Moorcroft was ninth in 3:54.4, and
Australia's Ken Hall 10th in 3:55.3.
When asked if he
believed that without his friend Ovett the race had rung hollow, Coe cited that
spectacular depth of performance. "Three fifty-five for 10th place," he
said. "I can't see that anyone who ran tonight, who contributed to the
greatest mile in history, could possibly consider his race a hollow effort. The
results say it all. What would have happened if Steve had run is too
hypothetical for me to guess."
On learning the
news, a temporarily abashed Ovett said only, "It was a great piece of
A calm and
organized young man, the 22-year-old Coe has just taken a degree in economics
and social history from Loughborough University in Leicestershire, where he
will return for graduate study. He is 5'9½", 129 pounds and a Yorkshireman
(as was the last British holder of the mile record, Derek Ibbotson) from
Sheffield. His father is manager of a cutlery factory when he is not coaching
Seb, as he is called, or "Sebco," which sounds vaguely like a
Sitting in a dim
restaurant some hours after the mile, having escaped for a moment a baying pack
of British journalists, Coe and his father reflected on the faraway beginnings
that had led to this surplus of glory. "When he was in an age-group race,
oh, years ago," said Peter Coe, "he was a year younger than the rest,
and I told him to go along at the pace he knew he could hold. And he said,
'What will that get me?' And I said, 'Maybe sixth,' and he said, 'That's not
for me, I'm running with the leaders.' Which he did for half a mile, then fell
way back. He came to me, apologetic after, and I said, 'No, it was good. You
have learned how fast you have to run for two laps. Now you've got to put
together four.' That was the basic lesson and it stuck. He has always had the
discipline to play to his own strength and, as he's improved, to run in a way
that means using it all."