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  • 1500m vs 1600m - why?

    does anybody have any insight as to why the metric middle distance is 1500m and not 1600m which would be precisely 4 laps? obviously the mile is a throwback and a metric race would overtake it everywhere eventually, but it seems strange that the race to do so is 3 laps plus 3/4 of a lap. is it just that 1.5km is a rounder figure? half of 3k? if so, why is there 5k and not 6k? and on and on.

    ancient crusties may answer, only..

  • #2
    Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

    I sure as heck would not have wanted to run a 1,600m in place of a mile... something to do with that (earlier debated and unconcluded) 1,46-second conversion stuff. Hey, it is easier to multiply by 1,08.

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    • #3
      Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

      Precisely 4 laps of a modern track yes. The first Olympics was on a 333.33m track, the second on a 500m track.

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      • #4
        Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

        Well, that's very interesting. Still, the British and American tracks were usually 440 yards, weren't they, even back then?

        I remember the British switching to 400M tracks in the 1960's. So, when will American high schools stop running 1600M and 3200M races?

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        • #5
          Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

          >So, when will American high schools stop running 1600M and 3200M races?

          When the get their acts together and change the events to 1,500m and 3,000m!

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          • #6
            Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

            >Precisely 4 laps of a modern track yes. The first Olympics was on a 333.33m
            >track, the second on a 500m track.

            so are you saying the 1500m distance began at the first olympics (assuming you mean 1896)?

            on a 500m track it makes sense, 3 laps.. but on a 333.33?

            why were the races at 800m and 400m if the tracks didn't easily accomodate those either?

            if the 1500 wasnt a result of the track length, it's strange that it was the chosen race rather than being twice the 800 distance..

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            • #7
              Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

              When the get their acts together and change the events to 1,500m and
              >3,000m!


              EP you're not helping us get to the bottom of this!

              EDIT: i suppose this could be moved to Historical

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              • #8
                Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                My assumption is that because we use kilometer marks here in Scandinavia, at least, it makes sense to run 1,5 kilometers instead of 1,6. When we speak of the mile, we always refer to it as the "English Mile".

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                • #9
                  Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                  Neither the 5000 nor the 3000 or steeple are precisely a whole number of laps, either. Why don't we go to 500 meter tracks? That would seem to make it much easier to accomodate ALL the field events inside the oval plus gentler turns for the long sprinters and distance runners.

                  >does anybody have any insight as to why the metric middle distance is 1500m and
                  >not 1600m which would be precisely 4 laps? obviously the mile is a throwback
                  >and a metric race would overtake it everywhere eventually, but it seems strange
                  >that the race to do so is 3 laps plus 3/4 of a lap. is it just that 1.5km is a
                  >rounder figure? half of 3k? if so, why is there 5k and not 6k? and on and
                  >on.

                  ancient crusties may answer, only..

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                    This is one of those big issues that has never--as far as I know--really been resolved. Prior to the 1890s, most tracks in the US and Britain were 440 yards in size, although it was nowhere near as standard then as in the 20th century and some well-known tracks were of quite odd (and oversize) measure.

                    To my mind, the now-standard metric distances are a kind of bastardization of the standard imperial distances. The 100, 200, 400, and 800 are obviously nearly exactly "like" the familiar 100, 220, 440, and 880 yard distances. The real question is: if 400 and 800 meters makes "sense" why not go to 1600? No one really has an answer for that...

                    IF one was starting from scratch, "logic" would suggest metric distances of, say, 100, 250, 500, 1000, 2000, 3000, 5000, and 10,000. On a 500m track, all this would make great sense, but the last 500m track was junked a long time ago.

                    As I (and a few others) have stated, the 1500 is an odd and ugly distance--one with no real historical logic and no public appeal (in the US, at least). It's ugly, but it's an ugly distance we're stuck with.

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                    • #11
                      Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                      I read somewhere a long time ago (forgot the source) that continental tracks (mostly French) were 500m, which would lend some rational for a 1500m. This may be urban legend. All distance events contested are somewhat arbitrary, classic being the marathon (distance from Windsor Castle to the Oly stadium, so the children royal could watch the start).

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                      • #12
                        Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                        I think the 1500m should be changed to 1600m, in a logic sense. But, what about all the history of the event (1500m) and the records?

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                        • #13
                          Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                          >I think the 1500m should be changed to 1600m, in a logic sense. But, what about
                          >all the history of the event (1500m) and the records?

                          what about all the 100y history and records?

                          okay okay, not the same.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                            Cycling tracks are typically either 1/3 of a kilometre (333.33 metres) or 500 metres.

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                            • #15
                              Re: 1500m vs 1600m - why?

                              USA high schools have some 1500 and 3000 meter races, I assume they are changing. Most of them have 1600/3200 instead......4/8 laps

                              If you were to make up the race distances right now what would you choose? I would choose

                              400m track...
                              100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, (random stuff), 10000

                              What do I choose? 1500, 1600, or mile...
                              What do I choose? 3000, 3200, or 2mile...
                              What do I choose? 4800, 5000, or 3mile...

                              Interesting topic

                              Comment

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