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Seb Coe UK 800m record, 1978, Brussels.

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Published on Oct 10, 2011

After first breaking the UK 800m record at the end of the 1977 season (1:44.95) at age 20, Coe here improves it down to 1:44.25 at the famous Ivo Van Damme memorial meet in Brussels on August 18th 1978. After missing 5 weeks of training/racing earlier in the summer, this was an important step to getting ready for a clash with Ovett at the European Champs less than 2 weeks later. This was perhaps the first sign to Athletic enthusiasts, that Coe might one day get close to the then world record of 1:43.43. A week later in Prague he was to pick up a stomach bug which made his weight drop to 8 and 1/2 stone. He then ran a suicidally fast 1st lap in the European 800 final (49.32) where he was to get the bronze medal behind Beyer (1:43.84) & Ovett (1:44.09), who also broke Coe's new British record. It is interesting to reflect as to whether or not Coe was quite ready to beat Ovett at 800m in 1978? Perhaps if the first lap in Prague had been 50.5 and Coe hadn't been drained by the stomach bug it would have been much closer and probably both would have been very close to the world record!
Coe got some consolation 2 weeks later, when he got back his British record with a solo display at Crystal Palace in 1:43.97. That particular record (UK 800m) has been his property for the 33 years since.

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