HELSINKI, JULY 2 -- Said Aouita of Morocco ran the second-fastest mile in history at the World Games IAAF Grand Prix track meet today, winning the featured event in 3 minutes 46.76 seconds.
Aouita took the lead with one lap remaining after the second pacemaker dropped out, and finished only 44 hundredths of a second shy of Briton Steve Cram's world record of 3:46.32 set almost two years ago.
Markus Hacksteiner of Switzerland was the runner-up in 3:55.67 and Sydney Maree, who holds the American record in the 1,500, 2,000 and 5,000 meters, finished third in 3:55.99.
Briton Paul Larkins, the first pacemaker, ran the first 400 meters in 56.2 seconds. The split time for 800 meters was 1:53.7. Canadian Dave Campbell took over the pacesetting on the second lap after Larkins dropped out.
Aouita, who earlier this season broke the world two-mile record in Turin, Italy, with a time of 8:13.45, also holds the 1,500 and 5,000 world records.
"It's difficult running alone in the last 400 meters," said Aouita, who has missed several world records in various distances by slim margins.
"Cram had somebody with him in the last lap when he set the record. That makes a difference."
But, said Aouita, "This was a speed test for me. I know I have it. I tried to go as fast as possible tonight, but it doesn't matter if I break the world record or not. The world championships are more important than world records this season."
Earlier, Edwin Moses coasted to an easy victory in the 400-meter hurdles in 49.08 seconds. Fellow American Dave Patrick was second in 49.64.
Moses, who won the world title here in 1983, opened up a big lead early in the race and was never challenged. Moses has won 126 of 127 races over the past 10 years.
Greg Foster was the only other American winner. Foster, who also became a world champion here in 1983, captured the 110-meter hurdles in 13.58 seconds. Colin Jackson of Britain was second, just four one-hundredths of a second behind.