Q&A #27

Q&A #27:  Who held the world record in the 1-mile for the shortest period of time?

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 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 beginning in 1981.[5]