"I saw the time there [2:53 with a lap to go]," said Cram, "and I thought, This is not going to be a record."
With 360 meters to run, Cram exploded. Coe swiftly matched his pace, and Gonzalez stayed near. That was the way they were when they hit the last turn, the last 200.
Cram, taking his little glances around in the backstretch, had indeed been gauging Coe. "I had this feeling that he wasn't running well, that he was a few meters off. That's when I decided to really give it all I had."
So Cram exploded again. He had seemed like he was running hard. Lord, everyone else sure was. And here was all this power, suddenly, as if he had just joined the race. He moved quickly ahead around the turn. In the stretch he appeared taller than in earlier laps, expanding in the imagination. He raised his arms as he neared the tape, then coasted through it in the time of 3:46.31, 1.02 seconds faster than Coe's record.
Gonzalez muscled past the fading Coe for second, 3:47.79 to 3:49.22, with Scott fourth in 3:49.93. Cram had run the last 200 in 25.3 seconds. Other wonderful milers were left almost awestruck. "Cram—and I hate to think of it—can run 3:44," said Walker, who was sixth in 3:53.65. "Did you see that last 200?" said Scott as if he hadn't been in the race.
"He did that off a tactical race," said Ireland's Ray Flynn, who was seventh in 3:54.64.
Indeed, that was what Cram was happiest about. The record had come as a bonus. "It was a special race," he said. "Because of Coe. But don't write him off. This is his first hard mile of the season. He'll have better nights."
Coe came faintly stunned to the pressroom. "I don't know why I'm up here," he grinned.
"Why, to be gracious."
"Yes, that's what you're told as you get older."