USAIN Bolt's sensational 14.35 over the 150m at 2009's Great CityGames Manchester has been declared the fastest race in athletics history.
Measuring the average speed in miles per hour from gun to tape, in legal wind conditions of less than 2m/sec, no-one has ever managed a quicker average speed.
Bolt's time of 14.35 equates to 23.38mph and it is superior to the world 100m (23.35mph) and 200m (23.31mph) records that he ran three months later at the IAAF World Championships in Berlin.
Such was Bolt's ability that day, he even recovered from a small stumble out of the blocks to produce pure street theatre as he stormed to victory over Marlon Devonish – the Briton finishing almost a full second behind the Jamaican, with Ivory Williams third and Rikki Fifton fourth.
As Bolt settled in to start, the crowd hushed as he prepared to blast out of the blocks. The Jamaican has never been renowned for his starting ability, though, and when the starter, David Brown, fired the gun Bolt lurched forward, almost falling.
He recovered however and, covering the ground in an unprecedented 10.45 metres per second, Bolt completed the 100m section from 50m to the finish line in 8.70 seconds. His opening 50m was 5.65. His first 100m was 9.91. The wind reading? A modest 1.1m/sec tailwind.
The world best of 14.8 held by Pietro Mennea, the Italian who won the 1980 Olympic 200m title and held the world 200m record for almost 17 years, was obliterated. It also eclipsed the 14.99 that Donovan Bailey ran when racing Michael Johnson at the Toronto SkyDome in 1997.
The athletics world reacted with awe at the performance. Bolt's big breakthrough had come the previous year when he set a world 100m record in New York City before winning his first Olympic 100m, 200m and 4x100m titles in Beijing. But his 150m at the Manchester CityGames showed he was faster than ever.
- For the full story on how the unforgettable race unfolded, see this week's Athletics Weekly article