Aug 28, 2019

Aug. 28, 1981: Trading the golden mile

British runner Sebastian Coe

Sebastian Coe. Photo: PA Photos/Getty Images

38 years ago today, the world record for running a mile changed hands for the third time in 10 days after British runner Sebastian Coe snatched the record back from fellow countryman Steve Ovett.

The big picture: The record wasn't broken again until Britain's Steve Cram ran a 3:46.32 in 1985. Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj (3:43.13) is the current record holder.


  • Aug. 19: Coe breaks Ovett's record with a time of 3:48:53 in Zurich, Switzerland.
  • Aug. 26: Ovett reclaims his record with a time of 3:48:40 in Koblenz, Germany.
  • Aug. 28: Coe breaks Ovett's record again with a time of 3:47.33 in Brussels, Belgium.

Go deeper: Oregon Live: The spark of the rivalry at the 1980 Olympics

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