In track running, the 1500 m race became the standard middle distance race in Europe in the late 19th century, and has been the standard distance in the Olympic Games since 1896. The distance of the race is sometimes referred to as a metric mile.
However, even in countries which do not embrace the metric system, most running tracks have a lap distance of 400 metres in the innermost lane. The standard middle distance in many United States high school competitions, for instance, is four times around the track, and this 1600 m distance is sometimes referred to as a metric mile as well.
In swimming, the 1500m (or 1650 yards) race is commonly referred to as "the swimmer's mile", and is often the longest distance swum by competitors in a pool. The standard distance triathlon also employs the swimmer's mile, except in open water instead of a pool.