Push It to the Limit

Last week Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba ran the fastest 1500m of any woman in history. What makes this feat even more extraordinary is that the record Dibaba broke was nearly 22 years old and many people thought it would never fall.

Dibaba’s time of 3:50.07 in Monaco last Friday—beating China’s Qu Yunxia’s world record of 3:50.46—was only the second time below 3:55 since 1997. It raises anew questions about the limits of male and female runners in the mile and the “metric...

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