Opinions on 800 metres

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The 800 metres, or 800-meter run, is a common track running event. It is the shortest common middle-distance track event. The 800 metres is run over two laps of the track (400 metre track) and has been an Olympic event since the first games in 1896. During indoor track season the event is usually run on a 200 metre track, therefore requiring four laps.

The event was derived from the imperial measurement of a half a mile, a traditional English racing distance. Imperial racing distances were common in the United States. American high schools (in the name of the NFHS) were the last to convert to metric distances in 1980, following the NCAA's conversion in 1976. Countries associated to the English system converted to metric distances after the 1966 Commonwealth Games. 800 m is 4.67 m less than half a mile.

The event combines aerobic endurance with anaerobic conditioning and sprint speed. Both the aerobic and anaerobic systems are being taxed to a high extent, thus the 800 metre athlete is required to combine training between both systems.

Runners in this event are often fast enough to compete in the 400 metres and/or the 4 × 400 metres relay but only Alberto Juantorena and Jarmila Kratochvílová have won major international titles at 400 m and 800 m. If they are so inclined, 400 m runners are usually encouraged to run the 200 metres while 800 m runners are encouraged to run the 1500 metres.

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