Cape Town – Ryan Mphahlele produced his best-ever performance in his first major final at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham on Saturday.
The South African 1 500m champion had already done well just to qualify for the decider, having sneaked through as one of the "fastest losers" from the heats, having finished seventh in 3:42.92.
The 24-year-old middle-distance specialist made a great start to the final at Alexander Stadium, operating in the top four after the first lap in around 55.2 seconds.
But that is when the lead group upped the pace, with Kenyans Abel Kipsang and Timothy Cheruiyot moving to the front, followed by the likes of Scotland's Jake Wightman and Australian Oliver Hoare.
Mphahlele – who secured a silver medal at the African championships in June – battled to keep up, but still ran the race of his life to set a new personal best of 3:34.66, eclipsing his previous mark of 3:35.36 set in Stellenbosch earlier this year, to finish 11th in the 12-man field.
It was a thrilling duel for the gold medal on the final lap, and it was Hoare who outlasted the Kenyans to win in a new Games record of 3:30.12.
Olympic silver medallist Cheruiyot ended second again in 3:30.21, followed by Wightman in 3:30.53, with African champion Kipsang fourth in 3:30.82.
In the men's hammer throw, Tshepang Makhethe produced four efforts beyond 66 metres to finish seventh in the final.
The 26-year-old Makhethe, who claimed a silver medal at the African champs, threw 68.76m in the fifth round.
Compatriot Alan Cumming, though, pulled off his best distance of 63.17m, and didn't qualify for the last three rounds to end 13th overall.
England's Nick Miller edged out Canada's Ethan Katzberg (76.36m) by just 7cm to clinch the gold with a 76.43m effort.
Alexandros Poursanidis took the bronze with 73.97m.