great distance

Long-distance track event

Long-distance track event races require runners to balance their energy. Because these types of races are very energy-consuming, one requires mental determination and aerobic conditioning, since stamina is a bigger factor than speed.

Standard long-distance events

5,000 metres

  • The 5,000 metres is a premier event that requires tactics and superior aerobic conditioning. Training for such an event may consist of a total of 60–200 kilometers (37–124 miles) a week, although training regimens vary greatly. The 5000 is often a popular entry-level race for beginning runners.

The world record for men:

* Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia 12:37.35 (6.60 m/s) Hengelo, Netherlands on 31 May 2004

For women:

* Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia 14:11.15 (5.87 m/s) Oslo, Norway on 6 June 2008

10,000 metres

  • The 10,000 metres is the longest standard track event. Most of those running such races also compete in road races and cross country running events. The world record for men:

*Kenenisa Bekele (male) of Ethiopia in 26:17.53 in Brussels, Belgium, set on August 26, 2005

For women:

* Wang Junxia of China in 29:31.78 (5.64 m/s), set on September 8, 1993

Other distance events

Longer races are rarely contested on the track, although records do exist for distances up to 160 kilometres (see marathons, ultramarathons and multiday races).

Notable long-distance track athletes


  • Steve Prefontaine, He owned every (8) American record between 2,000 and 10,000 meters and between two miles and six miles. He also held eight collegiate records while at Oregon, with his three-mile (12:53.4) and six-mile (27:09.4) still standing. During his career, he broke his own or other American records 14 different times, broke the four-minute barrier nine times, ran 25 two-mile races under 8:40 and 10 5K races faster than 13:30.
  • Saïd Aouita, was ranked among the world's best at all distances between 800 metres and 5000 m in the 1980s, a gold medalist at the 1984 Olympics, and like Nurmi, was the world record holder for 1500 m, 3:29.46 in 1985, and 5000 m, 13:00.40 in 1985 and 12:58.39 in 1987
  • Bernard Barmasai, steeplechase world record holder
  • Dieter Baumann, gold medalist in the 5000 m at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona
  • Kenenisa Bekele, set the current 5000 m world record of 12:37.35 at Hengelo, in the Netherlands, set the current 10000 m world record of 26:17:53 at Brussels, Belgium, and is the gold medalist in the 10,000 m at the 2004 Olympics, 2005 World Championships, 2007 World Championships and the 2008 Olympics. He is also the gold medalist in the 5,000 m at the 2008 Olympics.
  • Brahim Boulami, steeplechase world record holder
  • Christopher Chataway, set a 5000 m world record of 13 minutes 51.6 seconds in 1954, and was a pacesetter when Roger Bannister ran the first ever sub-4 minute mile that same year
  • Ron Clarke, held the 10,000 meter world record for eight years
  • Eamonn Coghlan, World 5000m champion 1983
  • Hicham El Guerrouj, double gold medalist at the 2004 Athens Olympics, and the reigning world record holder for the 1,500 metres, 3:26.00, the mile 3:43.13 and 2,000 metres, 4:44.79. He also captured the World Championship 5,000m silver medal in 2003 and the Olympic 5,000m gold medal in 2004.
  • Haile Gebrselassie, considered one of the greatest distance runners of all time, was the 1996 and 2000 Olympic gold medalist in the 10000 m, and held the 5000 m world record from 1998 until 2004 with a mark of 12:39.36. As of September 2008, he holds the marathon world record at 2:03:58, besting his own previous September 2007 world record at 2:04:26
  • Volmari Iso-Hollo, winner of 3000 m steeplechase at the 1932 and 1936 Summer Olympics
  • Ben Jipcho, steeplechase world record holder
  • Meb Keflezighi, currently the American 10000 m record holder
  • Kipchoge Keino, the first of many great distance runners from Kenya, who won gold in at the 1968 Olympics in the 1500 m and at the 1972 Olympics in the steeplechase
  • Bob Kennedy, the first non-African to break 13:00 in the 5000 m, in which he holds the American record, at 12:58.21
  • Wilson Boit Kipketer, steeplechase world champion and world record holder
  • Moses Kiptanui, thrice world champion, held two world records
  • Hannes Kolehmainen, the original Flying Finn, winner of four Olympic gold medals
  • Daniel Komen, thus far the only human ever to run back to back sub-four minute miles running a world record 7:58.61 for two miles in 1997 and world record holder in the 3000, as well as past world record holder in the 5000.
  • Taisto Mäki, held the two miles, 5000 m and 10000 m world records simultaneously for three years. The first man to run 10000 m in under half an hour.
  • Billy Mills, the only American ever to win an Olympic gold medal in the 10,000 m, at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics
  • Noureddine Morceli a retired Algerian athlete, winner of the 1500 m run at the 1996 Summer Olympics, as well the gold medal in various world championships, in the 1990s, he held various world records, including 1500 m, the mile, 2000 m, and 5000 m
  • David Moorcroft, set the world record for 5000 m on July 7, 1982, in Oslo, at the Bislett Games with a time of 13:00.41

    • Miruts Yifter, aka 'Yifter the Shifter', an Ethiopian winner of two golds at the 1980 Olympics
    • Paavo Nurmi, winner of nine Olympic gold medals
    • Emiel Puttemans Olympic silver on the 1972 10,000 meters
    • Gaston Reiff, 3000 meters world record holder for five years, Olympic gold on the 1948 5000 meters
    • Ville Ritola, winner of five Olympic gold medals
    • Gaston Roelants, Olympic gold medal winner and world record holder on the 3000 meter steeplechase
    • Henry Rono, a Kenyan runner who set several world records in 1978, and again broke the 5000 meters world record in 1981
    • H. Browning Ross, winner of two Pan-Am gold medals in 1951, and Olympics qualifier in 1948 & 1952
    • Bob Schul, the only American ever to win an Olympic gold medal in the 5,000 m, at the 1964 Summer Olympics in Tokyo
    • Paul Tergat, world record holder in the marathon 2003 - September 2007
    • Lasse Virén, Finnish winner of four gold medals at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics
    • Emil Zátopek, winner of one silver and four gold medals at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics and the first to break the 29 minute barrier in the 10,000 m run, in 1954


    • Elvan Abeylegesse, former holder of the world record at 5000 m, clocking 14:24:68 in 2004
    • Zola Budd, twice broke the world record in the women's 5000 m, running barefoot
    • Mary Decker, set six world records in 1982, at distances ranging from the mile to 10,000 meters
    • Meseret Defar, 2004 Olympic gold medalist at 5000 m, and former world record holder
    • Tirunesh Dibaba, current world champion at both 5,000 m and 10,000 m (the first woman to win this double)
    • Ingrid Kristiansen, world champion in the 10000 m in 1987, she set five track world records
    • Tegla Loroupe, holds the world records in the one hour run, and for 20, 25 and 30 kilometer distances, and previously held the marathon world record
    • Liz McColgan, world champion in the 10000m in 1991
    • Sonia O'Sullivan, World Champion in 5000m in 1995 and won double gold at the 1998 European Championships at 5000m and 10000m. Olympic Silver medallist at 5000m in 2000.
    • Paula Radcliffe, multiple world record holder, half marathon and cross country World Champion, second fastest at 10,000 m.
    • Fernanda Ribeiro, Olympic 10,000 m gold medalist in 1996
    • Gulnara Samitova, set 3000 m steeplechase world record, clocking 9:01.59, in 2004
    • Gabriela Szabo, Romanian who won the 2000 Olympic 5,000 m gold medal in Sydney in a new Olympic record time of 14:40.79
    • Derartu Tulu, 10000 m gold medalist in 1992 and 2000, and the first woman from sub-Saharan Africa ever to win an Olympic gold medal
    • Wang Junxia, set 10,000 m world record of 29:31.78, the first-ever sub-30 minute performance by a woman, which broke the former record by a stunning 42 seconds
    • Berhane Adere, Ethiopian former world champion, fourth fastest ever over 10,000 m with her 2003 African record

    See also

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