Mile run world record progression
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 Svetlana Masterkova has the women's record of 4:12.56. 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. By the 19th century "pedestrianism", as it was called, had become extremely popular and the best times recorded in the period were by professionals. Even after professional foot racing died out, it was not until 1915 that the professional record of 4:12¾ (set by Walter George in 1886) was surpassed by an amateur.
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.
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 is 4:12.56 by Svetlana Masterkova of Russia, set on August 14, 1996.
|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|
|4:22¼||Siah Albison||United Kingdom||27 October 1860||Manchester|
|4:21¾||William Lang||United Kingdom||11 July 1863||Manchester|
|4:20½||Edward Mills||United Kingdom||23 April 1864||Manchester|
|4:20||Edward Mills||United Kingdom||25 June 1864||Manchester|
|4:17¼||William Lang||United Kingdom||19 August 1865||Manchester|
|4:17¼||William Richards||United Kingdom||19 August 1865||Manchester|
|4:16 1/5||William Cummings||United Kingdom||14 May 1881||Preston|
|4:12¾||Walter George||United Kingdom||23 August 1886||London|
|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 3/5||Walter Chinnery||United Kingdom||10 March 1868||Cambridge|
|4:28 4/5||Walter Gibbs||United Kingdom||3 April 1868||London|
|4:28 3/5||Charles Gunton||United Kingdom||31 March 1873||London|
|4:26 0/5||Walter Slade||United Kingdom||30 May 1874||London|
|4:24½||Walter Slade||United Kingdom||1 June 1875||London|
|4:23 1/5||Walter George||United Kingdom||16 August 1880||London|
|4:19 2/5||Walter George||United Kingdom||3 June 1882||London|
|4:18 2/5||Walter George||United Kingdom||21 June 1884||Birmingham|
|4:17 4/5||Thomas Conneff||United Kingdom||26 August 1893||Cambridge, Mass.|
|4:17 0/5||Fred Bacon||United Kingdom||6 July 1895||London|
|4:15 3/5||Thomas Conneff||United Kingdom||28 August 1895||New York City|
|4:15 2/5||John Paul Jones||United States||27 May 1911||Cambridge, Mass.|
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.
Another variation of the amateur record progression pre-1862 is as follows:
|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|
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.
|4:14.4||John Paul Jones||United States||31 May 1913||Allston, Mass.|
|4:12.6||Norman Taber||United States||16 July 1915||Allston, Mass.|
|4:10.4||Paavo Nurmi||Finland||23 August 1923||Stockholm|
|4:09.2||Jules Ladoumègue||France||4 October 1931||Paris|
|4:07.6||Jack Lovelock||New Zealand||15 July 1933||Princeton, N.J.|
|4:06.8||Glenn Cunningham||United States||16 June 1934||Princeton, N.J.|
|4:06.4||Sydney Wooderson||United Kingdom||28 August 1937||Motspur Park|
|4:06.2||Gunder Hägg||Sweden||1 July 1942||Gothenburg|
|4:06.2||Arne Andersson||Sweden||10 July 1942||Stockholm|
|4:04.6||Gunder Hägg||Sweden||4 September 1942||Stockholm|
|4:02.6||Arne Andersson||Sweden||1 July 1943||Gothenburg|
|4:01.6||Arne Andersson||Sweden||18 July 1944||Malmö|
|4:01.4||Gunder Hägg||Sweden||17 July 1945||Malmö|
|3:59.4||Roger Bannister||United Kingdom||6 May 1954||Oxford|
|3:58.0||John Landy||Australia||21 June 1954||Turku|
|3:57.2||Derek Ibbotson||United Kingdom||19 July 1957||London|
|3:54.5||Herb Elliott||Australia||6 August 1958||Dublin|
|3:54.4||Peter Snell||New Zealand||27 January 1962||Wanganui|
|3:54.1||3:54.04||Peter Snell||New Zealand||17 November 1964||Auckland|
|3:53.6||Michel Jazy||France||9 June 1965||Rennes|
|3:51.3||Jim Ryun||United States||17 July 1966||Berkeley, Cal.|
|3:51.1||Jim Ryun||United States||23 June 1967||Bakersfield, Cal.|
|3:51.0||Filbert Bayi||Tanzania||17 May 1975||Kingston|
|3:49.4||John Walker||New Zealand||12 August 1975||Gothenburg|
|3:49.0||3:48.95||Sebastian Coe||United Kingdom||17 July 1979||Oslo|
|3:48.8||Steve Ovett||United Kingdom||1 July 1980||Oslo|
|3:48.53||Sebastian Coe||United Kingdom||19 August 1981||Zürich|
|3:48.40||Steve Ovett||United Kingdom||26 August 1981||Koblenz|
|3:47.33||Sebastian Coe||United Kingdom||28 August 1981||Brussels|
|3:46.32||Steve Cram||United Kingdom||27 July 1985||Oslo|
|3:44.39||Noureddine Morceli||Algeria||5 September 1993||Rieti|
|3:43.13||Hicham El Guerrouj||Morocco||7 July 1999||Rome|
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.: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.
|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||Timisoara|
|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
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.
|4:37.0||Anne Smith||United Kingdom||3 June 1967||London|
|4:36.8||Maria Gommers||Netherlands||14 June 1969||Leicester|
|4:35.3||Ellen Tittel||West Germany||20 August 1971||Sittard|
|4:29.5||Paola Pigni||Italy||8 August 1973||Viareggio|
|4:23.8||Natalia Mărășescu||Romania||21 May 1977||Bucharest|
|4:22.1||4:22.09||Natalia Mărășescu||Romania||27 January 1979||Auckland|
|4:21.7||4:21.68||Mary Decker||United States||26 January 1980||Auckland|
|4:20.89||Lyudmila Veselkova||Soviet Union||12 September 1981||Bologna|
|4:18.08||Mary Decker-Tabb||United States||9 July 1982||Paris|
|4:17.44||Maricica Puică||Romania||9 September 1982||Rieti|
|4:16.71||Mary Decker-Slaney||United States||21 August 1985||Zürich|
|4:15.61||Paula Ivan||Romania||10 July 1989||Nice|
|4:12.56||Svetlana Masterkova||Russia||14 August 1996||Zürich|
The IAAF recognized times to the hundredth of a second starting in 1981.
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.
- "100 Metres - men - senior - outdoor - 2013". iaaf.org. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
- "International Association of Athletics Federations". IAAF. Retrieved 2013-10-23.
- "World Mile Record Progression". Berkshire Sports. Retrieved 2011-09-04.
- "Progression of world record times for males". sta.colostate.edu. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
- "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.
- Hymans, Richard; Matrahazi, Imre. "IAAF World Records Progression" (pdf) (2015 ed.). International Association of Athletics Federations. Retrieved November 6, 2017.
- "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.
- Bascomb, Neil (2004). The Perfect Mile. Willow. ISBN 978-0-0071737-3-0.
- Bryant, John (2004). 3:59.4 The Quest To Break The Four Minute Mile. Hutchinson. ISBN 978-0-0918003-3-8.
- Nelson, Cordner; Quercetani, Roberto (1985). The Milers. Tafnews Press. ISBN 0-911521-15-1.
- Phillips, Bob (2004). 3:59.4 The Quest For The Four-Minute Mile. Parrs Wood Press. ISBN 978-1-9031584-9-4.
- Runner's World data
- Running Times Magazine data
- Frankfurt University (in German) (Internet Archive)
- Women's progression
- Another women's mile progression
- Frankfurt University (Women's progression) (in German) (Internet Archive)
- Clips of Banister's 4 minute mile
- Video of current Men's world record by Hicham El Guerrouj