Abdi Bile of George Mason, who finished fourth in the Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games Friday night in New York, came back yesterday with a new strategy and won the 1,500 meters in a meet-record 3 minutes 38.5 seconds at the Bud Light Invitational indoor track and field meet at George Mason field house.
Instead of trying to lead from the outset, Abdi ran with the pack for much of the race before he took the lead with 1 1/2 laps remaining on the 200-meter track.
"I was running back," Abdi said. "I was listening to the splits. When I saw the splits were near the world record, I started to run."
His time was within two-tenths of a second of Sydney Maree's national collegiate indoor record and close to Eamonn Coghlan's world indoor record of 3:35.6. It also was more than five seconds better than his own meet record of 3:43.73, established in 1984.
In other events, Terry Dendy of George Mason won the women's 500 meters in a meet record 1:11.45. Dendy, a sophomore from Wilmington, Del., overtook Morocco's Nawal El-Moutawakil -- the gold medalist in the women's 400-meter hurdles in the Los Angeles Olympics and now a student at Iowa State -- in the final 55 meters to qualify for nationals.
"I was right on her shoulder," Dendy said. "Last 100 yards we bumped each other. It kind of took us off our stride. Coming out of the last turn we were even. It was just a matter of who wanted it more."
For Abdi, a native of Somalia who carried his nation's flag in the 1984 Olympic Games, yesterday meant another day, another race and another strategy. On Friday night, he had set the pace in the Wanamaker Mile, according to his coach, John Cook. The strategy of trying to lead the entire race had been in vain; Marcus O'Sullivan had overtaken him to win. Abdi, exhausted at the end of the mile, had blacked out for a short time after the race.
"We were afraid he might not run today," Cook said. "But the Somalian cultural minister was here today and a lot of his friends were here to watch."
Instead of trying to win by taking the lead early, Abdi hung back. After two laps, he was ninth in the highly competitive 11-man field. He worked his way up to sixth with five laps to go.
With three laps to go, Abdi was in fourth place behind Jama Aden, the leader, Jim McKeon of Atlantic Coast Club and Jim Norris of St. Joseph's Track Club. Abdi ran the first 1,000 meters in 2:28.6, due in part to the pace set by his countryman, Aden.
"You need a rabbit to push it through the 1,000-meter mark," Cook said.
Said Abdi: "Jama was running a great pace to break the world record. I was not planning to run fast. (The others in the race) were trying to run it fast."
Other meet and field house records were established by Art McDermott of Boston Track Club, who threw the shot 65-9 3/4, and Freddie Williams of Abilene Christian, who ran the 800 meters in 1:49.82.
In the men's 500 meters, Iowa State's Danny Harris, the 1984 Olympic silver medalist in the 400-meter hurdles, won in a meet and field-house record 1:01.36.