Q&A #24 Who holds the mens and Womens American mile records




Allen Webb  holds the American national record in the mile, On July 21, 2007, at a meet in BrasschaatBelgium, Webb broke the American record in the mile. His time of 3:46.91 bested the 25-year-old record of 3:47.69 run by Steve Scott


Mary Slaney Hold the Americans record. As she Set the World record when she ran a 4:16.71 mile in Zurich in 1985, which held for almost four years. As of 2014, Slaney’s ultimate performance is still the United States record,

and she remains the only woman to run four sub-4:20 times.

As the mile record was being re-written throughout the ‘70s, a future star was rising in the U.S. Mark Decker – later Mary Slaney – first drew international attention by winning the 800 meters in a USA vs. USSR dual meet in 1972, at age 14. She won the first of her six Millrose Games titles the following year, and went on to own the mile world record on three different occasions. She first broke the mark in 1980 with a time of 4:21.68, run at Auckland, at the same meet in which Marasescu had lowered the mark one year earlier.

Lyudmila Veselkova of the former Soviet Union beat Slaney’s mark, running 4:20.89 in 1981, but Slaney took the record back, briefly, the next year, with a time of 4:18.08, becoming the first woman to beat the 4:20 mark. Exactly two months later, however, Maricica Puica ran 4:17.44 to set a record that stood, officially, for almost three years. In 1984, the Soviet Union’s Natalia Artymova was hand-timed in 4:15.8, but her performance wasn’t ratified by the IAAF.

Mile Trivia

Test your knowledge of the mile race.

Published
May 1, 2004

Mile Trivia

  • The word "mile" comes from the Latin "mille," meaning thousand. A mile was 1,000 Roman strides, a stride being two paces.
  • The current world record in the mile is 3:43.13, set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco on July 7, 1999. The current women’s record is 4:12.56 by Svetlana Masterkova of Russia, set on August 14, 1996.
  • Roger Bannister averaged 15.037 miles per hour when he first broke four minutes. El Guerrouj averaged 16.134 mph during his WR.
  • The longest-standing world record in the mile was 4:01.4, set by Gunder Haegg of Sweden on July 17, 1945. It stood for eight years, 293 days before Bannister broke it.
  • The shortest period between world records is two days. Steve Ovett of England lowered the WR to 3:48.40 on August 26, 1981. Sebastian Coe, also of England, broke that record on August 28 with a 3:47.33
  • The first American to break four minutes was the University of California’s Don Bowden, who ran 3:58.7 on June 1, 1957.
  • The oldest person to go under four minutes was Eamonn Coghlan of Ireland, who was 41 when he ran 3:58.15. The oldest person to break five minutes was Derek Turnbull of New Zealand, clocking 4:56.4 at age 65. The oldest under six minutes was Scotty Carter of Massachusetts with a 5:57.2 at 75. The oldest under seven minutes was Harold Chapson of Hawaii with a 6:43.3 at age 80.
  • The fastest mile by a high school runner is 3:53.43, by Alan Webb of Virginia on May 27, 2001.
  • A two-year study of more than four million high school students during the early 1980s found that the average boy took 7:40 to run a mile. The average girl took 9:51.
  • The so-called "metric mile" of 1500 meters is 119 yards, 21 inches short of a Roman mile.
  • A 3:42.43 at 1500 meters is the equivalent of a 4:00.00 mile.
  • The current 1500m record of 3:26.00 by El Guerrouj equates to a 3:42.27 mile. Qu Yunxia’s women’s 1500m world record of 3:50.46 equates to a 4:08.66 mile.
  • Daniel Komen’s 7:20.67 world record at 3,000m is equal to 7:56 for two miles.
  • On a scientifically-based table of comparative performance, a 4:00.00 mile is equal in effort to a 2:12:30 marathon. The current WR of 3:43.13 equates to a 2:03:10 marathon.
  • The fastest mile by a racewalker is 5:38.2, on an indoor track.
  • The record for running a mile backward is 6:02.35, by D. Joseph James of India on August 10, 2002.
  • Based on the world 1500m record of 1:46.43, a world champion speedskater can cover a mile in about 1:55, a champion rollerskater in about 2:25.
  • Based on the world 1500m record of 14:34.56, a freestyle swimmer should be able to complete a mile in about 15:44, about the same time as a fitness walker.
  • The world record for a mile by a race horse is 1:32.1.
  • If world-class sprinters were able to maintain top speed for a full mile, they would cover a mile in 2:16 to 2:17.
  • The fastest any human has covered a mile without mechanical aid is 19.45 seconds. That is based on the 185 miles-per-hour reached in a free fall from a plane. At the other extreme, the last mile up Mt. Everest has been known to take a week or longer.
  • A "country mile" is a distance that seems a lot longer than a Roman mile. No one has yet broken four minutes for a country mile.
  • Roger Bannister did not run the first four-minute mile.  An exact 4:00.00 was first achieved on September 3, 1958 by England's Derek Ibbotson in a fourth-place finish behind Herb Elliott at White City.


Mile run world record progression

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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.[1] Since 1976, the mile is 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 LadoumègueJack 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. But the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) did not recognize women's records for the distance until 1967, when Anne Rosemary 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.

Men[edit]

Professionals[edit]

TimeAthleteNationalityDateVenue
4:28Charles Westhall United Kingdom26 July 1855London
4:28Thomas Horspool United Kingdom28 September 1857Manchester
4:23Thomas Horspool United Kingdom12 July 1858Manchester
4:22¼Siah Albison United Kingdom27 October 1860Manchester
4:21¾William Lang United Kingdom11 July 1863Manchester
4:20½Edward Mills United Kingdom23 April 1864Manchester
4:20Edward Mills United Kingdom25 June 1864Manchester
4:17¼William Lang United Kingdom19 August 1865Manchester
4:17¼William Richards United Kingdom19 August 1865Manchester
4:16 1/5William Cummings United Kingdom14 May 1881Preston
4:12¾Walter George United Kingdom23 August 1886London

Amateurs[edit]

TimeAthleteNationalityDateVenue
4:55J. Heaviside United Kingdom1 April 1861Dublin
4:49J. Heaviside United Kingdom27 May 1861Dublin
4:46Matthew Greene United Kingdom27 May 1861Dublin
4:33George Farran United Kingdom23 May 1862Dublin
4:29 3/5Walter Chinnery United Kingdom10 March 1868Cambridge
4:28 4/5Walter Gibbs United Kingdom3 April 1868London
4:28 3/5Charles Gunton United Kingdom31 March 1873London
4:26 0/5Walter Slade United Kingdom30 May 1874London
4:24½Walter Slade United Kingdom1 June 1875London
4:23 1/5Walter George United Kingdom16 August 1880London
4:19 2/5Walter George United Kingdom3 June 1882London
4:18 2/5Walter George United Kingdom21 June 1884Birmingham
4:17 4/5Thomas Conneff United Kingdom26 August 1893Cambridge, Mass.
4:17 0/5Fred Bacon United Kingdom6 July 1895London
4:15 3/5Thomas Conneff United Kingdom28 August 1895New York
4:15 2/5John Paul Jones United States27 May 1911Cambridge, 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.[3]

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

TimeAthleteNationalityDateVenue
4:52Cadet Marshall United Kingdom2 September 1852Addiscome
4:45Thomas Finch United Kingdom3 November 1858Oxford
4:45St. Vincent Hammick United Kingdom15 November 1858Oxford
4:40Gerald Surman United Kingdom24 November 1859Oxford
4:33George Farran United Kingdom23 May 1862Dublin

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]

TimeAutoAthleteNationalityDateVenue
4:14.4John Paul Jones United States31 May 1913[5]Allston, Mass.
4:12.6Norman Taber United States16 July 1915[5]Allston, Mass.
4:10.4Paavo Nurmi Finland23 August 1923[5]Stockholm
4:09.2Jules Ladoumègue France4 October 1931[5]Paris
4:07.6Jack Lovelock New Zealand15 July 1933[5]Princeton, N.J.
4:06.8Glenn Cunningham United States16 June 1934[5]Princeton, N.J.
4:06.4Sydney Wooderson United Kingdom28 August 1937[5]Motspur Park
4:06.2Gunder Hägg Sweden1 July 1942[5]Gothenburg
4:06.2Arne Andersson Sweden10 July 1942[5]Stockholm
4:04.6Gunder Hägg Sweden4 September 1942[5]Stockholm
4:02.6Arne Andersson Sweden1 July 1943[5]Gothenburg
4:01.6Arne Andersson Sweden18 July 1944[5]Malmö
4:01.4Gunder Hägg Sweden17 July 1945[5]Malmö
3:59.4Roger Bannister United Kingdom6 May 1954[5]Oxford
3:58.0John Landy Australia21 June 1954[5]Turku
3:57.2Derek Ibbotson United Kingdom19 July 1957[5]London
3:54.5Herb Elliott Australia6 August 1958[5]Dublin
3:54.4Peter Snell New Zealand27 January 1962[5]Wanganui
3:54.13:54.04Peter Snell New Zealand17 November 1964[5]Auckland
3:53.6Michel Jazy France9 June 1965[5]Rennes
3:51.3Jim Ryun United States17 July 1966[5]Berkeley, Cal.
3:51.1Jim Ryun United States23 June 1967[5]Bakersfield, Cal.
3:51.0Filbert Bayi Tanzania17 May 1975[5]Kingston
3:49.4John Walker New Zealand12 August 1975[5]Gothenburg
3:49.03:48.95Sebastian Coe United Kingdom17 July 1979[5]Oslo
3:48.8Steve Ovett United Kingdom1 July 1980[5]Oslo
3:48.53Sebastian Coe United Kingdom19 August 1981[5]Zürich
3:48.40Steve Ovett United Kingdom26 August 1981[5]Koblenz
3:47.33Sebastian Coe United Kingdom28 August 1981[5]Brussels
3:46.32Steve Cram United Kingdom27 July 1985[5]Oslo
3:44.39Noureddine Morceli Algeria5 September 1993[5]Rieti
3:43.13Hicham El Guerrouj Morocco7 July 1999[5]Rome

Auto times to the hundredth of a second were accepted by the IAAF for events up to and including 10,000 m from 1981.[5]

Women[edit]

Pre-IAAF[edit]

TimeAthleteNationalityDateVenue
6:13.2Elizabeth Atkinson United Kingdom24 June 1921Manchester
5:27.5Ruth Christmas United Kingdom20 August 1932London
5:24.0Gladys Lunn United Kingdom1 June 1936Brentwood
5:23.0Gladys Lunn United Kingdom18 July 1936London
5:20.8Gladys Lunn United Kingdom8 May 1937Dudley
5:17.0Gladys Lunn United Kingdom7 August 1937London
5:15.3Evelyn Forster United Kingdom22 July 1939London
5:11.0Anne Oliver United Kingdom14 June 1952London
5:09.8Enid Harding United Kingdom4 June 1953London
5:08.0Anne Oliver United Kingdom12 September 1953Consett
5:02.6Diane Leather United Kingdom30 September 1953London
5:00.3Edith Treybal Romania1 November 1953Timisoara
5:00.2Diane Leather United Kingdom26 May 1954Birmingham
4:59.6Diane Leather United Kingdom29 May 1954Birmingham
4:50.8Diane Leather United Kingdom24 May 1955London
4:45.0Diane Leather United Kingdom21 September 1955London
4:41.4Marise Chamberlain New Zealand8 December 1962Perth
4:39.2Anne Rosemary Smith United Kingdom13 May 1967London

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.[6]

TimeAutoAthleteNationalityDateVenue
4:37.0Anne Rosemary Smith United Kingdom3 June 1967[6]London
4:36.8Maria Gommers Netherlands14 June 1969[6]Leicester
4:35.3Ellen Tittel West Germany20 August 1971[6]Sittard
4:29.5Paola Pigni Italy8 August 1973[6]Viareggio
4:23.8Natalia Marasescu Romania21 May 1977[6]Bucharest
4:22.14:22.09Natalia Marasescu Romania27 January 1979[6]Auckland
4:21.74:21.68Mary Slaney United States26 January 1980[6]Auckland
4:20.89Lyudmila Veselkova Soviet Union12 September 1981[6]Bologna
4:18.08Mary Slaney United States9 July 1982[6]Paris
4:17.44Maricica Puică Romania9 September 1982[6]Rieti
4:16.71Mary Slaney United States21 August 1985[6]Zürich
4:15.61Paula Ivan Romania10 July 1989[6]Nice
4:12.56Svetlana Masterkova Russia14 August 1996[6]Zürich

The IAAF recognized times to the hundredth of a second starting in 1981.[6]

Slaney 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.

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