Had Haukvik known
the thinking of Scott and Wessinghage, he might have relaxed and enjoyed the
ham. "Thomas and I went off under the apple trees and made a plan,"
says Scott. "More than wanting to win at any cost, we wanted to run a fast
time. We assumed they'd get someone to lead for two laps. Then I would take the
third lap and push it hard, and Thomas would take it going into the last
quarter, and we'd both sprint with 200 to go." Scott was so serious that he
told Wessinghage, "If there is no early rabbit, I'm going to take the pace
out from the start."
The British press,
which had been caught flat-footed by Coe's 800-meter record, was out in force.
"Why are you here, if it's not a special occasion?" a reporter asked
Peter Coe at Haukvik's party, because Sebastian's father had not attended the
"He can run
800s perfectly well on his own," said Peter, "because he's an 800-meter
runner. But he's not yet a miler. We've come to learn."
To one side,
Masback, in perfect earnest, was predicting a fast race, one that would have
eight men under 3:53. An NBC camera crew thought this very funny. Peter Coe
didn't crack a smile. "I like that Masback," he said. "An
Out on the lawn a
factory representative with a trunk full of lovely Norwegian sweaters was
offering them to the athletes at half price. "I experienced some
anxiety," says Masback. "Should I buy one when I knew they gave them as
prizes for the first six? Finally Haukvik said if you do a personal record,
they're free. So I said at least I'll get that and went away to eat all the
strawberries I could."
Back in the hotel,
Williamson, who had also resisted Haukvik's entreaties to set the pace, sat
down with his roommate, Brendan Foster, a magically astute judge of runners.
Before them they had a list of the field. "We got it down to Coe and Scott,
really," Williamson says. "For a year I had felt that Coe was capable
of a big mile. Coghlan had to be tired from his 5,000. Walker was not at his
best, and Wessinghage seldom comes off well in a big race. I never expected
anything of Masback."
Williamson looked up at the 31-year-old Foster. "What do you think?" he
"I'd bet you
third," said Foster.
The morning was
cool and calm with a moist fog over the fjord. One by one the milers rose and
stretched and headed out for their easy morning runs. At the far end of the
lake Coghlan met Coe, who turned and joined him. Both are men who save their
nervous energy for races, so it was not a strained occasion. "Just
communing with nature," says Coghlan.
Lacy was communing
with himself. For five days he'd had strep throat and a temperature. This
morning it was down to 99". "When I got up I felt runnable," he
says. "I managed to do a couple of miles without coughing and hacking. I
was hoping that I'd experienced a miraculous recovery. I hadn't, but at least I
figured I could run safely."