Poll: Should We Stop Running The 1600m Entirely?

The "Mile"

A couple of weeks ago, this tweet was brought to my attention: 

I honestly didn't realize this was such a hot button issue. When talking about track or reporting on it, I often make no delineation between the true distances and their nomenclature. A "Quarter Mile" is 400 meters, a "Half Mile" is 800 meters, and a "Mile" is 1600 meters. None of these are technically correct however as the true mile's distance of 1609.334 meters is slightly longer than four laps around the standard 400m track. You can see here from this year's Volunteer Track Classic how the difference is accounted for to run a full mile vs. a 1600m.

For some, including the tweeter above, this is the preferred distance if not going shorter by 100 meters to the "Metric Mile" of 1500 and apparently this discussion has been going on for a while. Just take a look at this forum from letsrun.com that started in 2005

As a the first message states, the progression of track events just makes sequential sense defending the 1600m: 

  • 100m
  • 200m 
  • 400m
  • 800m
  • 1600m
  • 3200m

Posts continue in the forum for four pages with discussion points ranging from "track's in Europe were 500 meters and they ran 3 laps" with counterpoints being "we used to run yards and tracks were 440 yards long equaling a true mile." Ultimately no one can agree and some of these history lessons are subject to fact checks so I'm not here to sway you any which way. All I know that is in Tennessee we follow the NFHS Guidelines for track and field and the order of events are what they are at the TSSAA State Championship. (We also measure our field events in feet and not meters. That's another discussion entirely.) 

That answer for some isn't a good justification though to continue on with the straight four lap race as the competed distance in college and on the international stage is 1500 meters and the True Mile is the distance that has the most historical significance (See Sir Roger Bannister). So since I can't decide on what the best option is, the poll below will hopefully be a good indicator of where most of the running community stands on the issue.