The mile, the Anglo-American unit of measurement par excellence, is inextricably linked to the history of world athletics. Not many people will remember who the first athlete was to go below 1'45" in the 800 metres or 3'30" in the 1500 metres, but all track and field fans remember that the first sub-4-minute mile was run by the Englishman Roger Bannister in 1954. Mile races have been organised several times in the capital. In particular, there were memorable events held in Piazza Navona where top runners competed on the circuit round the piazza that is very similar to an actual track. One of the stars of the event in Rome was Sydney Maree, a South African-born athlete but with a US passport, one of the best in the world at the 1500 and 5000 in the '80s. The current men's outdoor world record for the mile is 3 minutes 43.13 seconds, set by the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj during the Golden Gala in Rome on 7 July 1999. The women's world record is held by the Russian Svetlana Masterkova who at the Zurich meeting in 1996 ran it in 4 minutes 12.56 seconds. The men’s European record holder is Steve Cram, the British athlete who broke the then world record, running a 3 minute 46.32 second mile at the Bislett stadium in Oslo in 1985. The current Italian records are held by Gennaro Di Napoli (3 minutes 51.96 seconds) in San Donato Milanese in 1992, and Gabriella Dorio (4 minutes 23.29 seconds) in Viareggio in 1980. The distance, though mainly used in the UK and US, has had a long tradition all over the world, and it is curious to note that the last two men's world records were obtained on Italian soil. Before El Guerrouj broke the record, the Algerian Nourredine Morceli took the record from Cram, running it in 3 minutes 44.39 seconds in Rieti in 1993. Italy has also been the nation where the women’s world record has been broken three times: Paola Pigni in Viareggio in 1973 with 4 minutes 29.50 seconds, Ljudmila Veselkova, Soviet Union, 4 minutes 20.89 seconds in Bologna in 1981 and finally Marcisca Puica, Romanian, 4 minutes 17.44 seconds at a Meeting in Rieti in 1982.