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My all time favorite race without rabbits is the 1974 Commonwealth Games 1500 meters in Christchurch, New Zealand.
Filbert Bayi’s set a world record of 3.32.2 beating New Zealand’s John Walker in the process. Bayi opened up a first lap 54.9 and ran from start to finish in first place, with Walker closing in the final lap.
The video shows the 800m race first, followed by the 1500m about 800m into the race, with 700m to go. What you miss is Bayi leading from the gun on a suicide pace. He splits 800 meters at 1:52.1! Here is the video from YouTube:
You see, there is no need for wascal wabbits! And you have John Walker and Rod Dixon stalking like hunting prey.
Fast Forward to the 1975 Dream Mile with Marty Liquori… another World Record of 3:51.0. This time, Bayi opened up with reasonable 57.1 and 1:57 440 yard splits. Here is the video from YouTube.
UPDATE: Sorry, the video is no longer on YouTube.
Unfortunately, the African Boycott of 1976 Montreal Olympics denied the John Walker-Filbert Bayi showdown.
On an further note, Filbert Bayi lost to David Moorcroft at 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton, Alberta in the 1500 meters using this same strategy.
Win or lose, I absolutely love front running. Catch me if you can!