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A GLITTERING RUN IN A GOLDEN MILE
Kenny Moore
July 30, 1979
England's Sebastian Coe shattered the record for the mile with a 3:49 that crushed a star-studded field in Oslo
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July 30, 1979

A Glittering Run In A Golden Mile

England's Sebastian Coe shattered the record for the mile with a 3:49 that crushed a star-studded field in Oslo

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In his 800 record, Coe ran his first 200 in 24.6, his last in 27, slowly dying. In last year's European championship 800, he burned the first 400 in 49.3, losing in the end to East Germany's Olaf Beyer and Ovett. "Of course it was extravagant," said his smiling father, who long has valued courage over victories.

"People have labeled me a front-runner, which is incorrect if they mean I feel I must always be in the lead," said Seb Coe. "I've always worked through even splits, or tried to, but as they've been ambitious, I've been up front, necessarily, to run them. It's not that I'm trying to stamp my personal mark on a race. It's just that I'm trying to spread it evenly."

In that light, Coe's mile was something of an exception to his usual way of running. His acknowledged ease over the last lap suggested that, world record or not, 3:48.95 is nowhere near his limit.

"My clearest memory of the day," Coe said, savoring it, "is of the tremendous atmosphere among all the milers. Obviously we're each out to ruin everyone else on the track, but we've been genuine friends throughout." The mood of the event, he felt, was fierce without being grave. "This is what athletics is all about—Bislett tonight, not a once-every-four-years thing."

"Seize the moment," said his father.

"Yes, because there is only one certainty in all this," said Coe, his voice filled with the echoes of all record breakers, past and future. "Some month, some year, if I don't try, some other bloke will."

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