The Ageing Runner – Part 3 Middle distance

If you missed part 1 you can find it here, part 2 is here.

Typically the 800m and 1,500m are the commonly run middle-distance races, but I’ve used the mile because it’s more relatable for most runners than the 1,500. This article also includes times for 3,000m which is on the cusp of being middle distance. For elite men, it takes around 7½ minutes and puts them on the edge of their aerobic limits whereas for women it’s almost a minute slower. But one reason why I’ve included them is to have three balanced articles containing records for three distances!

With all the women’s records from here onwards, many of the older age group times have good potential to be broken. Some of the over-ninety records don’t even exist. It was only in the 1980s that women began to compete at Olympics and World Championships in the longer distances and so many of the older age category records are held by women who started running later in life.

Katharine Switzer still running at Boston in her seventies

Of course there were women who ran distance before the eighties but they were fewer and far between. Katharine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston marathon, was born in 1947 and opened the door for other women at the distance. In fact, many of the pioneers are younger and barely turning sixty at the time of writing.

The consequence of all this is the older age groups records have never been seriously trained for, or contested, by lifetime runners. To an extent this is also true of some of the older male records as few kept going past seventy but certainly with the women’s records we can expect some of their records to fall as the generation that started running distance in the late sixties are now hitting their seventies and the ones who followed them will have benefitted from increased participation and training.

Age group world records for 800m

TimeAthleteDateTimeAthleteDate
World Record1:40.9David Rudisha09-Aug-121:53.8Jarmila Kratochvilova26-Jul-83
V351:43.4Johnny Gray16-Aug-951:56.5Lyubov Gurina30-Jul-94
V401:48.1Tony Whiteman12-Jul-141:59.3Yekaterina Podkopayeva30-Jun-94
V451:49.9Tony Whiteman19-Aug-172:02.8Yekaterina Podkopayeva26-Jun-98
V501:58.6Nolan Shaheed13-May-002:12.5Eva Trost03-Aug-18
V552:02.9Peter
Oberliessen
07-May-162:19.6Anne Gilshinan08-Jun-19
V602:08.6Nolan Shaheed23-Apr-112:33.1Lidia Zentner14-Sep-13
V652:14.3Earl Fee18-Jul-952:39.6Sabra Harvey31-Oct-16
V702:20.5Earl Fee17-Jun-992:50.7Sabra Harvey19-Jul-19
V752:30.6Jose Vicente
Rioseco Lopez
18-Jun-163:07.3Jeanne Daprano23-Oct-11
V802:41.6Jose Vicente
Rioseco Lopez
30-Apr-213:25.8Yolande Marchal10-Oct-20
V853:06.7David Carr28-Jun-174:16.0Melitta
Czerwenka-Nagel
09-Aug-15
V903:34.9Earl Fee22-Jun-195:01.3Melitta
Czerwenka-Nagel
30-Sep-20
V954:51.4Antonio Nacca09-Jun-199:30.5Hollyce Kirkland10-Jun-17

Age group world records for the mile

TimeAthleteDateTimeAthleteDate
World Record3:43Hicham
El Guerrouj
07-Jul-99 4:12Sifan Hassan12-Jul-19
V353:51Bernard Lagat06-Aug-11 4:17Maricica Puica21-Aug-85
V403:58Bernard Lagat25-Jul-15 4:24Yekaterina Podkopayeva09-Jun-93
V454:10Davide Raineri05-Sep-20 4:48Yekaterina Podkopayeva13-Sep-97
V504:20Brad Barton31-May-19 4:58Nicole
Weijling-Dissel
27-Aug-17
V554:35Keith Bateman18-Dec-10 5:08Anne Gilshinan07-Aug-19
V604:49Dan King29-Aug-20 5:40Lesley Chaplin Hinz14-Jul-18
V654:56Derek Turnbull29-Feb-92 5:55Angela Copson19-Jul-15
V705:20Joop Rüter11-Jul-03 6:38Sharon Gerl06-May-18
V755:42Ed Whitlock28-Jul-06 6:58Jeanne Daprano21-Jul-12
V806:23Manuel
Alonso Domingo
27-May-17 7:35Yolande Marchal12-Oct-19
V856:40Manuel
Alonso Domingo
22-May-21 10:55Blanche Cummings20-Jun-15
V909:43Gunnar Linde17-Feb-19 12:49Heather Lee11-Jan-20
V9511:56Antonio Nacca07-Apr-19 

Age group world records for 3000m

TimeAthleteDateTimeAthleteDate
World Record7:21Daniel Komen01-Sep-96 8:06Wang Junxia13-Sep-93
V357:29Bernard Lagat29-Aug-10 8:28Maricica Puica07-Sep-85
V407:43Bernard Lagat14-Jul-15 9:03Nuria Fernandez24-Jun-17
V458:16Vyacheslav Shabunin17-Jul-15 9:17Yekaterina Podkopayeva22-Jun-97
V508:41Christian Geffray07-Jul-04 9:47Gitte Karlshøj19-May-09
V558:57Keith Bateman13-Nov-10 10:04Silke Schmidt10-Jul-15
V609:21Yoshitsugu Iwanaga26-Sep-20 10:29Silke Schmidt22-Aug-19
V659:47Derek Turnbull08-Feb-92 11:43Kathryn Martin03-Sep-17
V7010:42Siem Herlaar02-Jul-99 12:13Angela Copson01-Sep-18
V7511:10Ed Whitlock25-Jul-06 13:56Yoko Nakano21-Sep-12
V8012:14Ed Whitlock26-Jul-11 14:27Yoko Nakano27-Oct-17
V8514:13Julian Bernal Medina20-Feb-05 19:58Lenore Montgomery09-Jul-17
V9016:42Yoshimitsu Miyauchi19-Oct-14 
V9522:46Antonio Nacca16-Dec-18 

Notes on Masters world records

All data was sourced from Wikipedia in mid-June 2021. The aim is not to create a comprehensive set of records but to give readers an indication of what is possible. I will periodically update these when I can.

4 thoughts on “The Ageing Runner – Part 3 Middle distance

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