The pacemaker's race

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Q. Has the pacemaker in a major athletics distance event ever gone on to win the race?

A. On 26 June 1981, Tom Byers (US) was employed as a pacemaker to most of the world's best in a 1500m race in Oslo. He went through 400m in 57.52 sec and 800m in 1:54.83. The field, which included Steve Ovett and Steve Cram, did not go with him and went through 800m in 2:02 - a gap of about 50 metres. The stars realised the danger only with 300m to go, but it was too late. Although tiring badly, Byers hung on to win in 3:39.01 with Ovett second in 3:39.53.

At Motspur Park on 20 August 1938 a pacemaker finished in front of a man who set two world records. It was a half-mile handicap in which six runners started at various marks ahead of Sydney Wooderson. Wooderson crossed the line second, but set a new world record of 1:49.2, going through 800m in 1:48.4, also a world record. The first across the line was Stanley Wooderson, Sydney's brother, who had started 85 yards ahead.

W Morgan, Birmingham

Q. There were five red cards in two World Cup matches on 18 June. What is the largest number sent off in a single World Cup tournament and what is the record in one match?

A. The record number of dismissals in a World Cup tournament was 15, in 1994, though this was beaten on Thursday when Mexico's Jesus Ramirez became the 16th player of France 98 to receive a red card, against Holland. Three players have been sent off in one match twice before this year: in 1938, Zeze and Machado of Brazil and Riha of Czechoslovakia received their marching orders; in 1954, the English referee Arthur Ellis dismissed Brazil's Santos and Tozzi, and Hungary's Bozsik. Most cards in a match was 12 (10 yellow, two red) by Syrian referee Jamal Al-Sharif in 1994's Mexico v Bulgaria encounter.

R Hibbard, Chesterfield

Answers please

Q. During the World Cup I have frequently heard of a "rash" of red cards. I have also heard of a "flurry" of wickets in regard to cricket. What other collective nouns are peculiar only to sport?

D Haycock, Bournemouth

If you know the answers to any of these questions or have a sporting question of your own, write to Q&A, Sports Desk, Independent on Sunday, 1 Canada Square, London E14 5DL. Fax: 0171-293 2894

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