It’s July 7, 1999, and two runners are barreling toward the finish line of a mile race with a world record in reach.
To fully appreciate this incredible moment in track and field history, you need to remember how Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenya’s Noah Ngeny got to this point. You need to remember the history of the mile run, which is an unusual and sort of atavistic event within the sport. You need to know how its record has progressed over the years, in fits and starts marked by head-to-head battles.
And you need to know the history of these two men: How El Guerrouj has literally tangled with Algerian legend Noureddine Morceli, whose record he’s trying to beat, and how Ngeny helped El Guerrouj beat another one of Morceli’s records before this.
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