To the average person, 1,500 meters is a just a distance. To British running legend Steve Cram, it was a way of life.
During the 1980s, Cram was one of the most dominant middle distance runners of his time. With a nose for the finish line, and the aid of some high performance Swoosh-branded sneakers, like the Terra T/C and Cram Vendetta, Cram went on to break numerous world records during his career, including three in a 19-day period back in 1985.
Take a look back at some of the memorable moments in Cram’s racing career. These are the 10 Things You Should Know About Steve Cram.
No. 10 - Mid-Teens to Mid-Distance
Cram was a bit of a late bloomer. But by age 16, he worked his way to the top of the charts. In 1977, Cram set a U.K. age-16 best of 3:47.7 in the 1,500. The following year, he lowered the age-17 mark to 3:42.7—a record held by Steve Ovett.
No. 9 - Love for the Swoosh
It's no wonder Cram set so many world records--he was rocking some of the best Nike running shoes of all time. Early on in his career, Cram put some miles on his Nike Terra T/C (the first Swoosh racing flat designed for both training and competition). The shoe's Phylon technology and Cram's speed were a force to be reckoned with on the track.
No. 8 - Coe the Foe
The 1980s were the golden era of middle distance running. And Britain just happened to have three of the best runners around: Steve Ovett, Steve Cram, and Sebastian Coe. The three squared off one another on numerous occasions throughout the decade, but Coe in particular was Cram’s biggest rival on the track. A year after Coe defeated Cram to win the Olympic 1,500 meters, Cram got his revenge in Oslo—capped off by him breaking Coe’s world record in the event.
No. 7 - "If You Can't Beat Him, Join Him"
Cram was all about his Nikes. So an endorsement deal with the Swoosh was nothing more than a natural progression in his career. In the mid-90's, Nike rolled out the Cram Collection, which featured some of his favorite signature sneakers, including the Cram Vendetta and Windrunner. Though the collection didn't gain a whole lot of traction commercially, it consisted of some memorable models of the time.
No. 6 - The King of the 15
The 1,500 meters is considered to be the foremost middle distance track event. It just so happens, the 1,500m was Cram’s forte. Along with the Olympic Silver medal in the event, Cram won a total of five gold medals in the 1,500 (one at the World Championships, two at the European Championships, and two at the Commonwealth Games).
No. 5 - Olympic Glory
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, Cram returned to the track from injury and won the Silver medal in the 1500 meters. While it turned out to be the lone Olympic medal of his career, Cram dominated the middle distance scene for much of the '80s.
No. 4 - From the Track to the T.V.
After hanging up his racing flats, Cram established himself as one of the most comprehensive commentators of track and field on television. Steve is currently a BBC commentator, and has co-presented the last four Olympics dating back to 2000 Sydney.
No. 3 - Nike Cram Vendetta
In 1985, at the height of his career, Nike released the Cram Vendetta running shoe. Inspired by the British legend, the signature middle-distance shoe was a huge hit, particularly in the UK. No wonder why it ranked as one of the 100 Best Running Shoes of All Time.
No. 2 - Three Weeks, Three Records
During an unforgettable 19-day period in summer of 1985 in Oslo, Norway, Cram set world records in three different events: the 1500 meters, 2000 meters, and the mile.
No. 1 - Nike “I Ran With Cram” Campaign
Cram teamed up with Nike to host the “I Ran With Cram” campaign, giving young runners in the U.K. a chance to spend the weekend at a training camp hosted by the legendary runner. Interested? Click here.
Gurvinder Singh Gandu is a New York City-based writer with West Coast roots. A resident wear-tester for Sneaker Report, and contributor to Complex Media, follow him @GurvinderSG for the latest in performance footwear and gear.