The 1500 is a shortened term for the 1500 meter run, one of the most watched events in track and field. Participants usually race around a 400 meter track in outdoor competition, and a track anywhere from 200 meters to less than 150 meters indoors.
The 1500 came about in the late 19th century, when the Olympic games were first getting started. This was one of the first international competitions, so new standards had to be established. In America, the imperial system was (and still is) used expressly, so the distance race of choice was the mile. For international competition, this was shortened to a 1500 meter, which is relatively close, but has a nice, much more metric feel than a 1609.344 meter race.
Since then, this has become the international standard race length, with a 400 meter track being the international standard medium. It should be noted that the NCAA also has the same regulations. In some areas, a 1600 meter race is run, because it is four even laps, while in some bigger, exhibition meets, a true mile is run.
- Men - Hicham El Guerrouj (MAR) - 3:26.00, July 14, 1998
- Women - Yunxia Qu (CHN) - 3:50.46, September 11, 1993