Jouko Kuha

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Jouko Santeri Kuha (born 30 September 1939 in Ranua, Finland) is a former Finnish long-distance runner, who specialized for 3000 metres steeplechase. In 1968 he broke the World record with his result 8:24.2.


Kuha international breakthrough was at the Finland-Sweden athletics international in 1965 when he beat Bengt Persson with the Finnish record 8:37.6.[1] In the same year he was ranked ninth at the annual ranking of Track and Field News.

At the 1966 European Championships in Budapest Kuha ran new Finnish record 8:36.2 in the heats, but that did not qualify him for the final. Kuha realized that in order to reach world top he was forced leave Finlands winter conditions and conduct his training in the warm countries during winter times.[2] He was the first Finnish runner who started to train in the foreign countries and thus act as a trendsetter for later Finnish runners in their success in the 1970s.[1]

In 1967 Kuha improved his Finnish record to 8:29.8 in Stockholm, that was the season's second best time in the world after Gaston Roelants. In the same year he won 3000 metres steeplechases at the Universiades in Tokyo.[1] At the Track and Field News annual world ranking he was ranked fifth in 1967.

He prepared to summer 1968 in the village of Penedo in Itatiaia, Brazil. In the world record race, 17 July in Stockholm his 1000 metres lap-time was only 2:51.0, 1500 metres 4:17.2, and 2000 metres 5:43.2. However, Kuha was known for his fast final laps and again he sprinted to world record time 8:24.2, over 2 seconds faster than the previous record by Gaston Roelants. Kuha knew that as a sea-level inhabitant he would not succeed at the high altitude of Mexico City and therefore he did not travel to 1968 Summer Olympics.[1] At the Track and Field News annual world ranking he was ranked tenth in 1968.

Kuha's top season ended to Achilles tendon surgery in 1969. He continued his career at the national level and competed at the Finnish Championships in Athletics still at the age of 40 in 1980.[2]


Kuha's World record was threatened to be disqualified, because competition organizers provided bib numbers with BP logo. At that era this was against the amateur athletics rules.[1]

Kuha did not earn big money during his career. One week after the World record race he competed in Joensuu at the front of well over 6000 spectators. Kuha had agreed to his fee already in the previous spring to 600 Finnish markkas,[2] which correspond to 824 Euros in 2008 currency.[3]

During his career 1958–95 Kuha ran 3000 metres steeplechase 170 times. At the age 41 in 1981 he ran result 9:00.61 and at about two months prior his 50 years birthday in 1989 9:37.79.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Hannus, Matti (1999). Kultaiset kentät, Suomen yleisurheilun vuosisata. Juva: Werner Soderström Osakeyhtiö. pp. 276–277. ISBN 951-0-23703-5. 
  2. ^ a b c Salo, Urho (1993). Kilpakenttien sankarit 3. Helsinki: Kustannusosakeyhtiö Tammi. pp. 124–125. ISBN 951-30-8902-9. 
  3. ^ Tilastokeskus (2009-01-16). "Rahanarvonkerroin 1860 - 2008 (in Finnish)". Tilastokeskus. Retrieved 2009-08-29. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Belgium Gaston Roelants
Men's 3000 m steeplechase
world record holder

17 July 1968 – 19 August 1969
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Vladimiras Dudinas
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Belgium Gaston Roelants
Men's 3000 m steeplechase
best year performance

Succeeded by
Soviet Union Vladimiras Dudinas