Mile run world record progression

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The world record in the mile run is the best mark set by a male or female runner in the middle-distance track and field event. The IAAF 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, pending ratification, of 4:12.33.[1] Since 1976, the mile has been the only non-metric distance recognized by the IAAF for record purposes.

Accurate times for the mile run (1.609344 km) were not recorded until after 1850, when the first precisely measured running tracks were built. Foot racing had become popular in England by the 17th century, when footmen would race and their masters would wager on the result.[citation needed] By the 19th century "pedestrianism", as it was called, had become extremely popular and the best times recorded in the period were by professionals.[citation needed] Even after professional foot racing died out, it was not until 1915 that the professional record of 4:12​34 (set by Walter George in 1886) was surpassed by an amateur.[citation needed]

Progression of the mile record accelerated in the 1930s as newsreel coverage greatly popularized the sport, making stars out of milers such as Jules Ladoumègue, Jack Lovelock, and Glenn Cunningham. In the 1940s, Swedes Arne Andersson and Gunder Hägg lowered the record to just over four minutes (4:01.4) while racing was curtailed during World War II in the combatant countries. After the war, John Landy of Australia and Britain's Roger Bannister vied to be the first to break the fabled four-minute mile barrier. Roger Bannister did it first on May 6, 1954, and John Landy followed 46 days later. By the end of the 20th century, the record had been lowered to the time of 3:43.13 run by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1999.[2]

On the women's side, the first sub-5:00 mile was achieved by Britain's Diane Leather 23 days after Bannister's first sub-4:00 mile. However, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) did not recognize women's records for the distance until 1967, when Anne Smith of Britain ran 4:37.0. The current women's world record, pending ratification, is 4:12.33 by Sifan Hassan, set on July 12, 2019.

Men[edit]

Pre-IAAF[edit]

Professionals[edit]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:28 Charles Westhall  United Kingdom 26 July 1855 London
4:28 Thomas Horspool  United Kingdom 28 September 1857 Manchester
4:23 Thomas Horspool  United Kingdom 12 July 1858 Manchester
4:22​14 Siah Albison  United Kingdom 27 October 1860 Manchester
4:21​34 William Lang  United Kingdom 11 July 1863 Manchester
4:20​12 Edward Mills  United Kingdom 23 April 1864 Manchester
4:20 Edward Mills  United Kingdom 25 June 1864 Manchester
4:17​14 William Lang  United Kingdom 19 August 1865 Manchester
4:17​14 William Richards  United Kingdom 19 August 1865 Manchester
4:16​15 William Cummings  United Kingdom 14 May 1881 Preston
4:12​34 Walter George  United Kingdom 23 August 1886 London

Amateurs[edit]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:55 J. Heaviside  United Kingdom 1 April 1861 Dublin
4:49 J. Heaviside  United Kingdom 27 May 1861 Dublin
4:46 Matthew Greene  United Kingdom 27 May 1861 Dublin
4:33 George Farran  United Kingdom 23 May 1862 Dublin
4:29​35 Walter Chinnery  United Kingdom 10 March 1868 Cambridge
4:28​45 Walter Gibbs  United Kingdom 3 April 1868 London
4:28​35 Charles Gunton  United Kingdom 31 March 1873 London
4:26​05 Walter Slade  United Kingdom 30 May 1874 London
4:24​12 Walter Slade  United Kingdom 1 June 1875 London
4:23​15 Walter George  United Kingdom 16 August 1880 London
4:19​25 Walter George  United Kingdom 3 June 1882 London
4:18​25 Walter George  United Kingdom 21 June 1884 Birmingham
4:17​45 Thomas Conneff  United Kingdom 26 August 1893 Cambridge
4:17​05 Fred Bacon  United Kingdom 6 July 1895 London
4:15​35 Thomas Conneff  United Kingdom 28 August 1895 New York City
4:15​25 John Paul Jones  United States 27 May 1911 Cambridge

As there was no recognized official sanctioning body until 1912, there are several versions of the mile progression before that year. One version starts with Richard Webster (GBR) who ran 4:36.5 in 1865, surpassed by Chinnery in 1868.[3]

Another variation of the amateur record progression pre-1862 is as follows:[4]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:52 Cadet Marshall  United Kingdom 2 September 1852 Addiscome
4:45 Thomas Finch  United Kingdom 3 November 1858 Oxford
4:45 St. Vincent Hammick  United Kingdom 15 November 1858 Oxford
4:40 Gerald Surman  United Kingdom 24 November 1859 Oxford
4:33 George Farran  United Kingdom 23 May 1862 Dublin

IAAF era[edit]

The first world record in the mile for men (athletics) was recognized by the International Amateur Athletics Federation, now known as the International Association of Athletics Federations, in 1913.

To June 21, 2009, the IAAF has ratified 32 world records in the event.[5]

Time Auto Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:14.4 John Paul Jones  United States 31 May 1913[5] Allston, Mass.
4:12.6 Norman Taber  United States 16 July 1915[5] Allston, Mass.
4:10.4 Paavo Nurmi  Finland 23 August 1923[5] Stockholm
4:09.2 Jules Ladoumègue  France 4 October 1931[5] Paris
4:07.6 Jack Lovelock  New Zealand 15 July 1933[5] Princeton, N.J.
4:06.8 Glenn Cunningham  United States 16 June 1934[5] Princeton, N.J.
4:06.4 Sydney Wooderson  United Kingdom 28 August 1937[5] Motspur Park
4:06.2 Gunder Hägg  Sweden 1 July 1942[5] Gothenburg
4:06.2 Arne Andersson  Sweden 10 July 1942[5] Stockholm
4:04.6 Gunder Hägg  Sweden 4 September 1942[5] Stockholm
4:02.6 Arne Andersson  Sweden 1 July 1943[5] Gothenburg
4:01.6 Arne Andersson  Sweden 18 July 1944[5] Malmö
4:01.4 Gunder Hägg  Sweden 17 July 1945[5] Malmö
3:59.4 Roger Bannister  United Kingdom 6 May 1954[5] Oxford
3:58.0 John Landy  Australia 21 June 1954[5] Turku
3:57.2 Derek Ibbotson  United Kingdom 19 July 1957[5] London
3:54.5 Herb Elliott  Australia 6 August 1958[5] Dublin
3:54.4 Peter Snell  New Zealand 27 January 1962[5] Wanganui
3:54.1 3:54.04 Peter Snell  New Zealand 17 November 1964[5] Auckland
3:53.6 Michel Jazy  France 9 June 1965[5] Rennes
3:51.3 Jim Ryun  United States 17 July 1966[5] Berkeley, Cal.
3:51.1 Jim Ryun  United States 23 June 1967[5] Bakersfield, Cal.
3:51.0 Filbert Bayi  Tanzania 17 May 1975[5] Kingston
3:49.4 John Walker  New Zealand 12 August 1975[5] Gothenburg
3:49.0 3:48.95 Sebastian Coe  United Kingdom 17 July 1979[5] Oslo
3:48.8 Steve Ovett  United Kingdom 1 July 1980[5] Oslo
3:48.53 Sebastian Coe  United Kingdom 19 August 1981[5] Zürich
3:48.40 Steve Ovett  United Kingdom 26 August 1981[5] Koblenz
3:47.33 Sebastian Coe  United Kingdom 28 August 1981[5] Brussels
3:46.32 Steve Cram  United Kingdom 27 July 1985[5] Oslo
3:44.39 Noureddine Morceli  Algeria 5 September 1993[5] Rieti
3:43.13 Hicham El Guerrouj  Morocco 7 July 1999[5] Rome

The "Time" column indicates the ratified mark; the "Auto" column indicates a fully automatic time that was also recorded in the event when hand-timed marks were used for official records, or which was the basis for the official mark, rounded to the 10th of a second, depending on the rules then in place.

Records for the mile were rounded up to the nearest tenth of a second commencing January 1, 1957. Previously, records were rounded up to the nearest fifth of a second. Those rounded-up marks were: Cunningham's 4:06.8 (timed at 4:06.7); Hägg's 4:06.2 (4:06.1); Hägg's 4:01.4 (4:01.3); Landy's 3:58.0 (3:57.9). Landy's mark was not retroactively adjusted when the new rule came into effect.[6]:vii; 69–70 Auto times to the hundredth of a second were accepted by the IAAF for events up to and including 10,000 m beginning in 1981.[5]

Men's Indoor[edit]

Men Indoor Pre-IAAF[edit]

Time Auto Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:39.2 Lawrence Myers  United States April 25, 1885 New York  United States
4:39.2 Ernest Hjertberg  United States May 10, 1889 New York  United States
4:31.4 William Day  United States February 5, 1890 Brooklyn  United States
4:28.4 Ernest Hjertberg  United States February 13, 1892 Boston  United States
4:26.0 Andrew Walsh  United States November 30, 1895 Brooklyn  United States
4:25.2 Melvin Sheppard  United States January 26, 1906 New York  United States
4:23.8 Melvin Sheppard  United States March 30, 1906 New York  United States
4:19.8 Herbert Trube  United States February 13, 1909 New York  United States
4:19.8 Oscar Hedlund  United States February 22, 1912 Troy  United States
4:18.8 Oscar Hedlund  United States February 12, 1913 New York  United States
4:18.2 Abel Kiviat  United States February 15, 1913 New York  United States
4:16.0 John Overton  United States March 10, 1917 Philadelphia  United States
4:14.6 Joseph Ray  United States April 12, 1919 Chicago  United States
4:13.6 Paavo Nurmi  Finland January 6, 1925 New York  United States
4:13.4 Lloyd Hahn  United States February 14, 1925 New York  United States
4:12.0 Paavo Nurmi  Finland March 7, 1925 Buffalo  United States
4:12.0 Joseph Ray  United States March 17, 1925 New York  United States
4:11.2 Gene Venzke  United States February 6, 1932 New York  United States
4:10.0 Gene Venzke  United States February 17, 1932 New York  United States
4:09.8 Glenn Cunningham  United States March 25, 1933 Chicago  United States
4:08.4 Glenn Cunningham  United States March 17, 1934 New York  United States
4:04.4
oversized track
Glenn Cunningham  United States March 3, 1938[5] Hanover  United States
4:07.4 Glenn Cunningham  United States March 12, 1938 New York  United States
4:07.4 Charles Fenske  United States February 3, 1940 New York  United States
4:07.4 Charles Fenske  United States February 17, 1940 New York  United States
4:07.4 Leslie MacMitchell  United States February 15, 1941 New York  United States
4:07.4 Walter Mehl  United States February 15, 1941 New York  United States
4:07.3 Gilbert Dodds  United States March 11, 1944 New York  United States
4:06.4 Gilbert Dodds  United States March 18, 1944 Chicago  United States
4:05.3 Gilbert Dodds  United States January 31, 1948 New York  United States
4:04.9 Wes Santee  United States February 15, 1954 East Lansing  United States
4:03.8 Wes Santee  United States January 29, 1955 Boston  United States
4:03.6 Gunnar Nielsen  Denmark February 5, 1955 New York  United States
4:03.4 Ron Delany  Ireland March 14, 1958 Chicago  United States
4:02.5 Ron Delany  Ireland February 21, 1959 New York  United States
4:01.4 Ron Delany  Ireland March 7, 1959 New York  United States
3:58.9 Jim Beatty  United States February 10, 1962 Los Angeles  United States
3:58.6 Jim Beatty  United States February 15, 1963 New York  United States
3:56.6 Tom O'Hara  United States February 13, 1964 New York  United States
3:56.4 Tom O'Hara  United States March 6, 1964 Chicago  United States
3:56.4 Jim Ryun  United States February 19, 1971 San Diego  United States
3:55.0 Tony Waldrop  United States February 17, 1974 San Diego  United States
3:55.0 3:54.93 Dick Buerkle  United States January 13, 1978 College Park  United States
3:52.6 Eamonn Coghlan  Ireland February 16, 1979 San Diego  United States
3:50.6 Eamonn Coghlan  Ireland February 20, 1981 San Diego  United States

Men Indoor IAAF era[edit]

The IAAF started to recognize indoor world records in 1987, with the then world's best time, Coghlan's 3:49.78, ratified as the inaugural record for the mile.[7]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
3:49.78 Eamonn Coghlan  Ireland February 27, 1983 East Rutherford  United States
3:48.45 Hicham El Guerrouj  Morocco February 12, 1997 Ghent  Belgium
3:47.01 Yomif Kejelcha  Ethiopia March 3, 2019 Boston  United States

Women[edit]

Pre-IAAF[edit]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
6:13.2 Elizabeth Atkinson  United Kingdom 24 June 1921 Manchester
5:27.5 Ruth Christmas  United Kingdom 20 August 1932 London
5:24.0 Gladys Lunn  United Kingdom 1 June 1936 Brentwood
5:23.0 Gladys Lunn  United Kingdom 18 July 1936 London
5:20.8 Gladys Lunn  United Kingdom 8 May 1937 Dudley
5:17.0 Gladys Lunn  United Kingdom 7 August 1937 London
5:15.3 Evelyn Forster  United Kingdom 22 July 1939 London
5:11.0 Anne Oliver  United Kingdom 14 June 1952 London
5:09.8 Enid Harding  United Kingdom 4 June 1953 London
5:08.0 Anne Oliver  United Kingdom 12 September 1953 Consett
5:02.6 Diane Leather  United Kingdom 30 September 1953 London
5:00.3 Edith Treybal  Romania 1 November 1953 Timișoara
5:00.2 Diane Leather  United Kingdom 26 May 1954 Birmingham
4:59.6 Diane Leather  United Kingdom 29 May 1954 Birmingham
4:50.8 Diane Leather  United Kingdom 24 May 1955 London
4:45.0 Diane Leather  United Kingdom 21 September 1955 London
4:41.4 Marise Chamberlain  New Zealand 8 December 1962 Perth
4:39.2 Anne Smith  United Kingdom 13 May 1967 London

Women's IAAF era[edit]

The first world record in the mile for women (athletics) was recognized by the International Amateur Athletics Federation, now known as the International Association of Athletics Federations, in 1967.

To June 21, 2009, the IAAF has ratified 13 world records in the event.[8]

Time Auto Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:37.0 Anne Smith  United Kingdom 3 June 1967[8] London
4:36.8 Maria Gommers  Netherlands 14 June 1969[8] Leicester
4:35.3 Ellen Tittel  West Germany 20 August 1971[8] Sittard
4:29.5 Paola Pigni  Italy 8 August 1973[8] Viareggio
4:23.8 Natalia Mărășescu  Romania 21 May 1977[8] Bucharest
4:22.1 4:22.09 Natalia Mărășescu  Romania 27 January 1979[8] Auckland
4:21.7 4:21.68 Mary Decker  United States 26 January 1980[8] Auckland
4:20.89 Lyudmila Veselkova  Soviet Union 12 September 1981[8] Bologna
4:18.08 Mary Decker-Tabb  United States 9 July 1982[8] Paris
4:17.44 Maricica Puică  Romania 9 September 1982[8] Rieti
4:16.71 Mary Decker-Slaney  United States 21 August 1985[8] Zürich
4:15.61 Paula Ivan  Romania 10 July 1989[8] Nice
4:12.56 Svetlana Masterkova  Russia 14 August 1996[8] Zürich
4:12.33 p Sifan Hassan  Netherlands 12 July 2019 Monaco

p - pending ratification

The "Time" column indicates the ratified mark; the "Auto" column indicates a fully automatic time that was also recorded in the event when hand-timed marks were used for official records, or which was the basis for the official mark, rounded to the 10th of a second, depending on the rules then in place.

The IAAF recognized times to the hundredth of a second starting in 1981.[8]

Decker ran 4:17.55 in Houston on 16 February 1980, and Natalya Artyomova (Soviet Union) ran 4:15.8 in Leningrad on 6 August 1984, but neither time was ratified by the IAAF.

Women's Indoor[edit]

Women Indoor Pre-IAAF[edit]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
5:17.2 Brenda Cook  United Kingdom February 5, 1966 Cosford  United Kingdom
5:03.6 Joyce Smith  United Kingdom February 12, 1966 Cosford  United Kingdom
4:52.0 Doris Brown  United States February 19, 1966 Vancouver  Canada
4:40.4 Doris Brown  United States February 18, 1967 Vancouver  Canada
4:38.5 Debbie Heald  United States March 17, 1972 Richmond  United States
4:35.6 Francie Larrieu  United States February 17, 1973 San Diego  United States
4:34.6 Francie Larrieu  United States February 2, 1974 Seattle  United States
4:29.0 Francie Larrieu  United States February 15, 1975 San Diego  United States
4:28.5 Francie Larrieu  United States March 3, 1975 Richmond  United States
4:24.6 Mary Decker  United States January 22, 1982 Los Angeles  United States
4:21.47 Mary Decker  United States February 12, 1982 New York  United States

Women Indoor IAAF era[edit]

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:20.5 Mary Decker  United States February 19, 1982 San Diego  United States
4:18.86 Doina Melinte  Romania February 13, 1988 East Rutherford  United States
4:17.14 Doina Melinte  Romania February 9, 1990 East Rutherford  United States
4:13.31 Genzebe Dibaba  Ethiopia February 17, 2016 Stockholm  Sweden

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "100 Metres - men - senior - outdoor - 2013". iaaf.org. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  2. ^ "International Association of Athletics Federations". IAAF. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
  3. ^ "World Mile Record Progression". Berkshire Sports. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
  4. ^ "Progression of world record times for males". sta.colostate.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009" (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. pp. Pages 546, 549–50. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2009.
  6. ^ Hymans, Richard; Matrahazi, Imre. "IAAF World Records Progression" (pdf) (2015 ed.). International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
  7. ^ https://bringbackthemile.com/history/progressions
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009" (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. pp. Pages 546, 642. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved August 4, 2009.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]