Superman and the Flash had been teammates in the Justice League of America for seven years by the time 1967 rolled around. Together, they had defeated world conquerors, intergalactic aliens, and extra-dimensional versions of themselves. Still, the question of who was faster between the two was never answered. Fans had been asking it for years and, in Superman #199, it was officially addressed.
When the United Nations approached Superman and the Flash with the idea of a race around the world, the pair agreed. Money raised by the event would go to needy countries and the heroes were happy to help. Though the pair would end this event in a tie and they would have a half dozen rematches in the future, this first race was something special. It was something no one had seen before.
The penciler of this issue was Curt Swan, the legendary Superman artist. His version of Superman is still how many fans view the Man of Steel. The writer of this story was a 16 year-old Jim Shooter, already an employee of two years at DC Comics. It was a fun pairing that lead to this first memorable race.