February 2nd, 1974 – The Christchurch Commonwealth Video games 1500 With Filbert Bayi, John Walker & Rod Dixon In “The Race For The Ages”!
Virtually 3 years in the past, mates and monitor geeks gathered through texting and zooming (as a result of Covid period!) as all of us watched the Tokyo Olympic Video games 1500 meter semi-final.
Lining up within the 2nd semi was 2016 Gold Medalist Matthew Centrowitz, hoping to advance to his third Olympic last. However incredulously, it wasn’t meant to be, as Centrowitz completed ninth in his race and failed to maneuver on.
Nevertheless, extra astoundingly to us watching was the truth that Centro had run 3:33.69! Incredulously, a few of us commented on how one can run so quick and end out of it!
That’s when Tony Gulotta and I, betraying our age (!), commented with 2 names –
Our youthful friends had no clue what we have been speaking about, so not solely did we regale them with the 1974 1500-meter Commonwealth Video games race, however we linked them to the video of that unbelievable race.
Filbert Bayi, the “Mountain Man” from Tanzania, took the lead from begin to end, holding off John Walker, the Late Ben Jipcho, and Dixon to win the Commonwealth Goldando and break Jim Ryun’s 7-year-old World File!
The highest 5 occasions have been as follows –
1) Bayi – 3:32.16
2) Walker – 3:32.52
3) Jipcho – 3:33.16
4) Dixon – 3:33.89
5) Graham Crouch – 3:34.22
Now, 50 years later, this extraordinary race, run on a monitor with spikes from the period, is revisited by Bayi, Walker & Dixon.
1) How motivated have been you for the 74 Commonwealth Video games?
“Sure, I used to be motivated virtually 100% resulting from
I used to be able to compete with the most effective 1500m athletes of that period. Point out the few Ben Jipcho, Mike Boit (KEN), John Walker, Rod Dixon (NZ)
Graham Crouch (AUS) and the opposite 6 within the race.”
“I used to be very motivated. The truth that the Video games was being held in NZ was an enormous incentive for me to do effectively.”
“The Christchurch Commonwealth video games have been gathering Nationwide curiosity. John and I had our very profitable 1973 European Scandinavian monitor travels. I used to be very decided to be the most effective I could possibly be in Christchurch, and I had some thrilling native races the place I had overwhelmed John as soon as, and he had beat me as soon as, so we have been going into the video games figuring out that we may probably do one thing particular.
I consider we have been prepared for a World-Degree Video games.”
2) Who did you take a look at as your most important opponents within the race? Who else have been you taking a look at?
“Probably not, as I didn’t even know Rod was the bronze medalist within the
1500m on the 1972 Munich Olympic
Being an underdog, I didn’t have any worries from anybody. I knew within the race, everybody was the most effective as they represented their nation. Per week earlier than the 800m and 1500m, New Zealand newspapers and radios confirmed all about my mates John Walker, Ben Jipcho, Rod Dixon, and Mike Boit. I used to be not a lot within the image.”
Walker – “I used to be involved about the entire area, actually. I knew the race can be quick after the 800m last was gained rapidly. I wasn’t solely taking a look at Bayi because the one to beat and Dixon and Jipcho. I used to be effectively conscious of all of them, actually. It was a strong area. You’ll be silly to enter a race solely centered on one particular person.
I used to be sore after enjoying a pleasant sport of cricket with Arch and his household the evening earlier than, and I used to be somewhat anxious about my drained muscular tissues greater than something, however as soon as within the race, I felt nice.”
“I consider John and I have been very conscious of Filbert Bayi operating and racing. I additionally acknowledged Graham Crouch from Australia was operating effectively – Brendan Foster UK, Mike Boit & Ben Jipcho. In actual fact, some world-class commonwealth athletes have been equal to the most effective on the planet on the time.
I knew that the sector for the 1500 was able to race the race of the century!”
3) The gun goes off, and Filbert instantly jumps to the entrance – what have been you all pondering then?
“Taking the lead proper after the gun went off was my plan, figuring out no person within the race may have identified if I used to be doing it proper. I used to be positive they have been pondering that
I might die after a couple of laps. They didn’t know if I had educated for that suicidal
“I wasn’t stunned or involved when Bayi went into the lead as a result of that was how he ran. With 400m to go, I used to be fearful as a result of the remainder of the sector was collectively, and nobody had tried to observe Bayi.”
“Bayi was out into the lead from the gun, I anticipated that to occur, and I seen that the opposite runners have been very conscious to not let that lead get too huge, and we sort of saved it the place it was, believing that we’d be capable of choose him up by no less than 800 m – in fact, that didn’t occur, and we weren’t capable of get by!”
4) How would every of you describe your final lap?
“On the bell, I appeared over my shoulder
and noticed John Walker, Ben Jipcho, and Rod
Dixon killing one another to catch me. Coming as much as the ultimate 200m, issues have been scorching. Between John, Ben, and Rod. On the last bend, John managed to depart Ben & Rod. The ultimate 50m was the place I
knew John was coming to me, and I stated to myself, “Catch Me If You Can” John!”
Walker – ”
“With 350m to go, I moved up more durable within the area, and with 180m to go, I gave chase, and I did suppose I may catch him, however with 50m to go, I began tying up.”
“With a lap to go along with 400 to go, I needed to try to bridge the hole in order that my dash was extra at 400 meters than leaving it for the final hundred meters.
Down the again straight, Jipcho and Walker made the problem. I then picked up Jipcho across the last flip, however I may inform that I couldn’t get him once more within the dwelling straight.”
5) Had been you every shocked by operating a spectacular time?
“Undoubtedly, I used to be shocked as a result of
apart from successful the GOLD, I additionally broke the
1500m World file, which was one thing I didn’t consider!”
“It was 5 seconds sooner than I had ever run earlier than!
I did my finest and so I used to be not dissatisfied. It might have been good to win, however I used to be happy with my effort and felt happy with my race. My life modified eternally after that race!”
“I keep in mind after we crossed the end line, Graham Crouch and I appeared on the video board and realized that that was the world’s quickest 1500 ever, with the primary two breaking the world file the third place equaling the previous world file, and I completed fourth within the race and ran the fifth quickest time in historical past and Graham Crouch set an Australian file and many of the different runners within the area additionally set Nationwide data, and to at the present time 50 years later it’s nonetheless thought of to be one of many best 1500 meter races!”
6) Many contemplate this race essentially the most wonderful 1500 ever run – many followers at this time evaluate performances like yours to the applied sciences surrounding the brand new tracks in addition to the “SuperShoes” of at this time – would you prefer to take a guess as to how a lot sooner you & the others can be at this time 50 years later?
Bayi – “Perhaps with a clear run, 50 years later from at this time, athletes may go
underneath 3:20.00 within the 1500 meters!”
Walker – “If I had the expertise and monitor at this time, a 3:27 can be fairly correct, however it’s arduous to say. It’s only a guess.”
“We are able to speak all we would like about comparisons between runners in generations, but it surely’s what it was on the time, and what’s taking place now’s this time, and we simply respect the folks on the time, not the best of all time however the best of their time. ”
They Certain Had been!
Bell Lap – This author thanks Filbert Rod and Hans for recalling this magnificent occasion!
Bayi’s new autobiography – “Catch Me If You Can” – is accessible at –Soulstice Publishing
You should buy Bayi’s guide right here: https://soulsticepublishing.com/product/bayi-book/amp/