Middle-distance running

Last updated

Middle-distance running events are track races longer than sprints, up to 3000 metres. The standard middle distances are the 800 metres, 1500 metres and mile run, although the 3000 metres may also be classified as a middle-distance event. [1] The 1500 m came about as a result of running 3+34 laps of a 400 m outdoor track or 7+12 laps of a 200 m indoor track, [2] which were commonplace in continental Europe in the 20th century. [3]

Contents

Events

500 metres

A very uncommon middle-distance event that is sometimes run by sprinters for muscle stamina training.

600 yards

This was a popular distance, particularly indoors, when imperial distances were common. In the era of wooden 11 laps to a mile tracks (common prior to metrication), this was one lap longer than a quarter mile.

In 1882, American Lon Myers set what was then a world record at 600 yards (548.64 m), running it in 1:11.4. [4]

The event was a common event for most American students because it was one of the standardized test events as part of the President's Award on Physical Fitness. [5] In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Martin McGrady, who had minimal success at longer or shorter races, made his reputation, set world records and drew many fans to arenas to watch him race elite competitors, including Olympians, at this unusual distance.

600 metres

This middle distance length is rather uncommon, and is mainly run by sprinters wishing to test their endurances at a longer distance. Like other middle distance races, it evolved from the 600 yard race. The 600 m is also used as an early season stepping stone by 800 m runners before they have reached full race fitness.

Johnny Gray (United States) holds the record for men: 1:12.81 set at Santa Monica on 24 May 1986.

Caster Semenya (South Africa) holds the women's record: 1:21.77 set at Berlin on 27 August 2017.

800 metres

The 800 m consists of two laps around a standard 400 m track, and has always been an Olympic event. It was included in the first women's track programme in 1928, but suspended until 1960 because of shock and the exhaustion it caused the competitors. Without the benefits of modern training, men of the era were, in contrast, expected to run themselves to complete exhaustion during competitions[ citation needed ].

David Rudisha (Kenya) is the current recordholder: 1:40.91, London, 9 August 2012. Jarmila Kratochvílová (Czechoslovakia) set the current women's record: 1:53.28, Munich, 26 July 1983. [6]

880 yards

The 880-yard (804.67 m) run, or half mile, was the forebear to the 800 m distance and has its roots in competitions in the United Kingdom in the 1830s. [7]

1000 metres

This distance is not commonly raced, though it is more common than the 500 m event is for sprinters. This is commonly raced as an indoor men's heptathlon event, or as an indoor high school event. In 1881, Lon Myers set what was then a world record at 1000 yards, running it in 2:13.0. [4]

The men's record is held by Noah Ngeny (Kenya) (2:11.96, Rieti, 5 September 1999), while Svetlana Masterkova (Russia) set the women's record (2:28.98, Brussels, 23 August 1996). [6]

See also 1000 metres world record progression.

1200 metres

Three laps. A distance seldom raced on its own, but commonly raced as part of the distance medley relay.

There is no recorded world records or world bests. However, Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) is believed to be the fastest man at this distance: 2:44.75, Rieti, 2002. [8]

1500 metres

Also known as the metric mile, this is a premier middle-distance race, covering three and three-quarter laps around a standard Olympic-sized track. In recent years, races over this distance have become more of a prolonged sprint, with each lap averaging 55 seconds for the world record performance by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco: 3:26.00 on 14 July 1998 at Rome (two 1:50 min 800 m performances back to back). [6] Thus, speed is necessary, and it seems that the more aerobic conditioning, the better. Genzebe Dibaba from Ethiopia holds the women's world record: 3:50.07 set in Monaco on 17 July 2015. [6]

This is a difficult distance at which to compete mentally, in addition to being one of the more tactical middle-distance track events. The distance is often witness to some of the most tactical, physical races in the sport, as many championship races are won in the final few metres.

1600 metres

At exactly four laps of a normal 400 m track, this distance is raced as a near replacement for the mile (it is, in fact, 9.344 m, about 30.6 feet, shorter; however, it is still colloquially referred to as "the mile"). The 1600 meters is the official distance for this range of races in US high schools. While this race is rarely run outside high school and collegiate invitational competition, it has been held at the international level. The 1500 m, however, is the most common distance run at the college and international levels. The final leg of a distance medley relay is 1600 metres.

An accurate way to run an actual mile on a metric track is to run the additional 9.344 meters before starting the first marked 400 meter lap. Many tracks, especially high-level tracks, will have a waterfall starting line drawn 9.344 meters back for this purpose. Otherwise, on a metric track, there will be a relay zone 10 meters before the common start/finish line, frequently marked by a triangle pointed toward the finish. In many configurations, that triangle is about half a meter wide, making its point extremely close to the mile start line, which would be slightly less than two feet from the marked relay zone (the widest part of the triangle, or line). [9]

Mile

This length of middle-distance race, 1,760 yards (1,609.344 m), is very common in countries that do not use the metric system, and is still often referred to as the "Blue Riband" of the track. When the International Amateur Athletic Federation decided in 1976 to recognize only world records for metric distances, it made an exception for the mile and records are kept to this day.

Historically, the mile took the place that the 1500 m has today. It is still raced on the world class level, but usually only at select occasions, like the famous Wanamaker Mile, held annually at the Millrose Games. Running a mile in less than four minutes is a famously difficult achievement, long thought impossible by the scientific community. [10] The first man to break the four-minute barrier was Englishman Roger Bannister at Oxford in 1954.

The current record holders are Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) (3:43.13, Rome, 7 July 1999) and Sifan Hassan (Netherlands) (4:12.33, Monaco, 12 July 2019). [6]

2000 metres

Hicham El Guerrouj (Morocco) (4:44.79, Berlin, 7 September 1999) set the men's world record.

Sonia O'Sullivan (Ireland) (5:25.36, Edinburgh, 8 July 1994) is currently the fastest woman at this distance outdoors; [6] on 7 February 2017, Genzebe Dibaba (Ethiopia) ran 5:23.75 indoors.

Although the 2000m is not an official world record event indoors, Dibaba's performance is classed as the outright world record as she beat O'Sullivan's outdoor record. [11]

3000 metres

Truly on the borderline between middle and longer distances, the 3000 m (7.5 laps) is a standard race in the United States. Between 1983 and 1993 it was a world championship event for women at the outdoor IAAF World Championships and Olympics. The 1984 Olympic race was famous for the controversial collision between Mary Decker and Zola Budd. The race has been a fixture at the IAAF World Indoor Championships since its inception in 1985 as the longest race for both men and women. This race requires decent speed, but a lack of natural quickness can be made up for with superior aerobic conditioning and race tactics. The records at this distance were set by Daniel Komen (Kenya) (7:20.67, Rieti, 1 September 1996) and Junxia Wang (China) (8:06.11, Beijing, 13 September 1993). [6]

3200 metres

At exactly eight laps on a standard 400 m track, this event is typically run only in American high schools, along with the 1600 m. It is colloquially called the "two-mile", as the distance is only 18.688 metres shorter. In college, the typical runner of this event would convert to the 5,000 metre run (or potentially the 3,000 metre run during indoor season). Most eastern American high schools, colleges, and middle schools, this event is usually considered a long-distance event, depending on the region. It is the longest track distance run in most high school competitions. [12]

Two miles

This length of long middle-distance or short long-distance race was 3,520 yards (3,218.688 m).

Historically, the two mile took the place that the 3000 m and the 3200 m have today. The first and only man to break the four-minute barrier for both miles was Daniel Komen (Kenya) at Hechtel, Belgium on 19 July 1997, and his time of 7:58.61 remains a world record. Meseret Defar (Ethiopia) is the fastest woman: 8:58.58, Brussels, Belgium, 14 September 2007.

2000 metres steeplechase

Another race only run in high school or Masters meets. The typical specialist in this event would move up to the 3000 metre steeplechase in college.

3,000 metre steeplechase

The 3,000 metre steeplechase is a distance event requiring greater strength, stamina, and agility than the flat 3,000 metre event. This is because athletes are required to jump over five barriers per lap, after a flat first 200 m to allow for settling in. One barrier per lap is placed in front of a water pit, meaning that runners are also forced to deal with the chafing of wet shoes as they race. The world records are held by Saif Saeed Shaheen (Qatar) (7:53.63, Brussels. 3 September 2004) and Gulnara Samitova (Russia) (8:58.81, Beijing, 17 August 2008). [6]

See also

Notes and references

  1. Middle-distance running. Encyclopædia Britannica . Retrieved on 5 April 2010.
  2. For track cycling, 500 m outdoor tracks and 250 m indoor tracks are still commonplace.
  3. 1500 m – Introduction. IAAF. Retrieved on 5 April 2010.
  4. 1 2 Joe D. Willis and Richard G. Wettan (2 November 1975). "L. E. Myers, "World's Greatest Runner"" (PDF). Journal of Sport History. Retrieved 26 October 2011.
  5. http://www.fitness.gov/pdfs/50-year-anniversary-booklet.pdf [ bare URL PDF ]
  6. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 http://www.iaaf.org/statistics/recbycat/location=O/recordtype=WR/event=0/age=N/area=0/sex=W/records.html IAAF Records, accessed 6 January 2010
  7. 800 m – Introduction. IAAF. Retrieved on 5 April 2010.
  8. "Progression Of The Fastest 1200m Time En Route to 1500 or Mile". trackandfieldnews.com. Retrieved 28 July 2015.
  9. http://www.trackinfo.org/marks.html TrackInfo Marking guide
  10. Hill, A. V. (1925). "The Physiological Basis of Athletic Records". The Scientific Monthly. 21 (4): 409–428. Bibcode:1925SciMo..21..409H.
  11. Jon Mulkeen (7 February 2017). "Dibaba breaks world 2000m record in Sabadell". IAAF. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  12. http://www.khsaa.org/track/ Kentucky High School Athletic Association, Accessed 7 May 2010

Commons-logo.svg Media related to Middle-distance running at Wikimedia Commons

Related Research Articles

Track and field Sport involving running, jumping, and throwing disciplines

Track and field is a sport that includes athletic contests based on running, jumping, and throwing skills. The name is derived from where the sport takes place, a running track and a grass field for the throwing and some of the jumping events. Track and field is categorized under the umbrella sport of athletics, which also includes road running, cross country running, and racewalking.

Hicham El Guerrouj Moroccan middle-distance runner

Hicham El Guerrouj is a retired Moroccan middle-distance runner. El Guerrouj is the current world record holder of the outdoor 1500 metres, mile, and 2000 metres events. He also held indoor world records for the mile and 1500 metres until 2019, and is the only man since Paavo Nurmi to earn a gold medal in both the 1500 metres and 5000 metres at the same Olympic Games. El Guerrouj is considered the greatest middle-distance runner in history and is also viewed as one of the greatest athletes of all time.

Noureddine Morceli is a retired Algerian middle-distance runner. He was the winner of the 1500 metres at the 1996 Summer Olympics and won three straight gold medals at that distance at the World Championships in Athletics. He set world records in the 1500 m, mile run and the 3000 metres.

The Dream Mile may refer to the annual Diamond League race in Oslo at Bislett Stadium, or several historic individual races featuring top middle-distance runners.

Noah Kiprono Ngeny is a former Kenyan athlete, Olympic gold medalist at 1500 m at the 2000 Summer Olympics, and world record holder in the 1000 m.

The world record in the mile run is the fastest time set by a runner in the middle-distance track and field event. World Athletics is the official body which oversees the records. Hicham El Guerrouj is the current men's record holder with his time of 3:43.13, while Sifan Hassan has the women's record of 4:12.33. Since 1976, the mile has been the only non-metric distance recognized by the IAAF for record purposes.

Bernard Lagat Kenyan-American runner

Bernard Kipchirchir Lagat is a Kenyan-American middle and long-distance runner.

The men's 5,000 metres at the 2004 Summer Olympics as part of the athletics program were held at the Athens Olympic Stadium on August 25 and 28.

1500 metres Middle distance running event, "the metric mile"

The 1500 metres or 1,500-metre run is the foremost middle distance track event in athletics. The distance has been contested at the Summer Olympics since 1896 and the World Championships in Athletics since 1983. It is equivalent to 1.5 kilometers or approximately 1516 miles.

Gelete Burka Ethiopian runner

Gelete Burka Bati is an Ethiopian middle-distance and long-distance runner. She was born in Kofele in the Arsi Zone of the Oromia Region, the same district as double Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie.

5000 metres Long-distance track running event

The 5000 metres or 5000-metre run is a common long-distance running event in track and field, approximately equivalent to 3 miles 188 yards or 16,404 feet 2 inches. It is one of the track events in the Olympic Games and the World Championships in Athletics, run over 12+12 laps of a standard track. The same distance in road running is called a 5K run; referring to the distance in metres rather than kilometres serves to disambiguate the two events. The 5000 m has been present on the Olympic programme since 1912 for men and since 1996 for women. Prior to 1996, women had competed in an Olympic 3000 metres race since 1984. The 5000 m has been held at each of the World Championships in Athletics in men's competition and since 1995 in women's.

3000 metres Long-distance track running event

The 3000 metres or 3000-metre run is a track running event, also commonly known as the 3K or 3K run, where 7.5 laps are completed around an outdoor 400 m track or 15 laps around a 200 m indoor track.

Mile run Common middle-distance running event

The mile run is a middle-distance foot race.

Deresse Mekonnen Ethiopian middle-distance runner

Deresse Mekonnen Tsigu is an Ethiopian middle distance runner, who specializes in the 1500 metres. He is a two-time World Indoor champion and was the silver medallist at the 2009 World Championships. He represented Ethiopia in the event at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and holds the Ethiopian record for the mile run.

Genzebe Dibaba Ethiopian middle and long-distance runner

Genzebe Dibaba Keneni is an Ethiopian middle- and long-distance runner. A 1500 metres 2016 Rio Olympics silver medalist, she won a gold medal in this event and a bronze in the 5000 metres at the 2015 World Championships. Genzebe is the current world record holder for the 1500m, and the indoor events of the one mile, 3000m and 5000m. She holds the distinction of possessing the most world records by one individual in track history, with her current haul of four, plus two world bests.

Shannon Rowbury American middle-distance runner

Shannon Rowbury is an American middle-distance runner from San Francisco, California. After competing collegiately for Duke University, she turned professional in 2007. Rowbury has represented the United States at the 2008, 2012, and 2016 Summer Olympics. She also represented the United States at the World Championships in 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017, winning the bronze medal in the 1500 meters in 2009. In 2015, Rowbury helped set the world record with the U.S. team for the distance medley relay event, and set a then-American record for 1500 meters on July 17, 2015, breaking Mary Slaney's 32 year-old mark with a time of 3:56.29.

The 2000 metres or 2000-metre run is a track running event where five laps are completed around an outdoor 400 m track, or ten laps around a 200 m indoor track - the distance is 11.68 meters short of 1¼ miles.

Sifan Hassan Dutch distance runner

Sifan Hassan is an Ethiopian-born Dutch middle- and long-distance runner. She completed an unprecedented triple at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics winning gold medals in both the 5000 metres and 10,000 metres, and a bronze medal for the 1500 metres. Hassan is the only athlete in Olympic history to win medals across a middle-distance event and both long-distance races in a single Games. She is only the second woman to complete an Olympic distance double.

Jama Mohamed Aden is a Somali former middle-distance runner and coach who ran for Fairleigh Dickinson University as well as representing Somalia throughout the 1980s. He would go on to pursue a career in coaching world-class middle-distance athletes. He is the older brother of former competitive runner Ibrahim Mohamed Aden.

Yomif Kejelcha Ethiopian long-distance runner

Yomif Kejelcha Atomsa is an Ethiopian distance runner. He won a silver medal in the men’s 10,000 metres at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, Qatar. He is the current world indoor record holder in the mile.