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Fast mile for TV, maybe; naming ballparks; Wimbledon's silent rooters

There are more outstanding milers in the world today than ever before, a fact confirmed when seven runners finished under 3:51 during a recent "Dream Mile" in Norway. The field was so fast that Steve Scott beat Jim Ryun's 13-year-old American record, yet finished third behind Steve Ovett and Jose Luis Gonzales.

The news out of Oslo was quickly followed by a report that some of these same milers were approached about running in New York. According to the New York Times, Fred Lebow quietly met with several top runners to discuss a possible mile race along Fifth Avenue in late September. As a president of the New York Road Runners Club, sponsor of the five-borough New York City Marathon, Lebow knows all about stopping traffic. Now he's reportedly working on two invitational miles, one for men and one for women, to be run as a package for TV. The races would begin in front of the Plaza Hotel on 59th Street and end at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on 82nd.

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The concept certainly has its appealing aspects -- a unique and majestic setting, tremendous exposure in a media capital, and the potential for taking world-class running to the public. Spectating, however, would probably be a one-shot affair, with none of the drama that builds watching runners from start to finish. For the competitors, a drawback would be that no record could be established compe ting on city streets.

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