Middle distance track event

Middle distance track event

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Middle distance track events are track races longer than sprints up to (and arguably including) 3000m.[1]

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Middle distance events

The standard middle distances are the 800 m, 1500 m, mile (in the United States), and the 3000 m (which is viewed by some as more of a long distance event). In the United States, the 3000 m is more common at the high school and collegiate levels (along with the US two mile). In Japan, the 800, 1500 and 3000 meter events are competed in both genders for junior high school and high school, except that high school boys jump to 5000 meters. Both 3000 and 5000 meter distances are sometimes described as long distance[2] but also frequently as middle distance,[3][4][5] depending on the context. From the perspective of a longer race like a half marathon, marathon or relays such as the ekiden relay, the 5000 meter race might be viewed as middle distance.

What constitutes a good mark for each event of course varies by gender, age, individual, intensity of training/competition, point in the competitive season, weather, and many other factors.

600 m

This middle distance length is rather uncommon, and is mainly run by sprinters wishing to test their endurances at a longer distance. The 600 m is also used as an early season stepping stone by 800 m runners before they have reached full race fitness. The record at this distance is for men:

For women:

  • Ana Fidelia Quirot (Cuba) 1:22.63 Guadalajara July 25, 1997

800 m

Main article: 800 metres

The 800 m consists of two laps around a standard 400 m track, and has always been an Olympic event. It was included in the first women's track program in 1928, but suspended for women until 1960 because of shock and the exhaustion it caused the competitors. Without the benefits of modern training, men of the era were, in contrast, expected to run themselves to complete exhaustion during competitions. The current record is for men:

  • Wilson Kipketer (Denmark), 1:41.11 Cologne August 24, 1997

For women:

  • Jarmila Kratochvílová (Czechoslovakia) 1:53.28 Munich, July 26, 1983

1000 m

This distance is not commonly raced, though it is more common than the 500 m event is for sprinters. This is commonly raced as an indoor men's heptathlon event, or as an indoor high school event. The record at this distance for men is:

  • Noah Ngeny (Kenya) 2:11.96 Rieti September 5, 1999

For women:

1200 m

A distance seldom raced on its own, but commonly raced as part of the distance medley relay.

1500 m

Main article: 1500 metres

Along with the 800 m, this is a premier middle-distance race, covering three and three-quarter laps around a standard Olympic-sized track. In recent years, races over this distance have become more of a prolonged sprint, with each lap averaging 55 seconds for the world record performance by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1998 at Rome (two 1:50 s 800 m performances back to back). Thus, speed is necessary, and it seems that the more aerobic conditioning, the better. This is a difficult distance to compete at, mentally, in addition to being one of the more tactical middle-distance track events. The distance is often witness to some of the most tactical, physical races in the sport, as many championship races are won in the final few metres. The record at this distance for men is:

For women:

  • Qu Yunxia (China) 3:50.46 Beijing September 11, 1993

1600 m

At exactly four laps of a normal 400 m track, this distance is raced as the metric mile as a near replacement for the mile (it is, in fact, about 9 m shorter; however, it is still imprecisely referred to as "the mile"). The 1500 m, however, is the most popular distance run at the college and international levels. A mile is almost exactly 3.75 laps in lane 5 which is more exact than 4 laps in lane 1.

Mile

This length of middle-distance race, 1760 yards, (1609.344 meters), is very common in countries that don't use the metric system.

When the IAAF decided in 1976 to recogniize only world records for metric distances, it made an exception for the mile and records are kept to this day.

Historically, the mile played the role that the 1500 m has today. It is still raced on the world class level, but usually only at select occasions, like the famous Wanamaker Mile held annually at the Millrose Games. It is also conducted in high visability road races, including on the day before the Boston Marathon. The distance can be appreciated as a remnant of the past, but is, of course, still fiercely contested. Running a mile in less than four minutes is a famously difficult achievement, long thought impossible by the scientific community. The first man to break the four minute barrier was Roger Bannister at Oxford in 1954. The term "miler" is sometimes also applied to a 1500 m runner. The record at this distance for men is:

For women:

2000 m

  • Another event that is rarely run, a miler's speed will generally allow him/her to prevail at this distance over less balanced challengers. The record at this distance for men is:

For women:

3000 m

Main article: 3000 metres
  • Truly on the borderline between middle and longer distances, the 3000 m (7.5 laps) is a standard race in the United States, though it is not raced at the outdoor IAAF World Championships. This race requires decent speed, but a lack of natural quickness can be made up for with superior aerobic conditioning and supporting race tactics. The record at this distance for men is:
  • Daniel Komen (Kenya) 7:20.67 Rieti September 1, 1996

For women:

  • Junxia Wang (China) 8:06.11 Beijing September 13, 1993

3200 m

At exactly 8 laps on a standard 400 m track, this event is typically run only in American high schools along with the 1600 m. It is colloquially called the "two-mile," as the distance is only about 18 meters shorter than two miles. In college, the typical runner of this event would convert to the 3,000 metre run.


5000 m

While mainly run as an outdoor event, the 5000 m is sometimes run on an indoor track. Official records are kept for both outdoor[6] and indoor[7] 5000 m track events.

Men's Outdoor 5000m world record
Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia, 12:37.35 on May 31, 2004
Women's Outdoor 5000m world record
Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia, 14:11.15 on June 6, 2008

2,000 m steeplechase

3,000 m steeplechase

Main article: Steeplechase
  • The 3,000 metre Steeplechase is a distance event requiring greater strength, stamina, and agility than the flat 3,000 metre event. This is because athletes are requied to jump over five barriers per lap, after a flat first 200 m to allow for settling into pace. One barrier per lap is placed in front of a water pit, meaning that runners are also forced to deal with the chaffing of wet shoes as they race. The world record for men is:
  • Saif Saeed Shaheen (Qatar) 7:53.63 Brussels September 3, 2004

For women:

  • Gulnara Samitova (Russia) 8:58.81 Beijing August 17, 2008


Youth middle distance performances

The tables below do not focus on record times but rather on the performance of many runners in a given year (in this case, 2007 and 2008). These are the top 100 (or even 500) junior high school and high school runners in Japan and the USA. Results from other countries would be welcomed.

800 meters

800 meters Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys Junior High School Japan Top 200[4] 1:56.06 - 2:03.91
Boys Middle School USA Top 500[8][9] 2:00.67 - 2:29.00
Boys High School Japan Top 100[10][3] 1:51.66 - 1:56.34 1:50.85 - 1:57.87
Boys High School USA Top 100[11] 1:48.63 - 1:53.82 1:48.6 - 1:53.77
Girls Junior High School Japan Top 100[8][4] 2:09.87 - 2:19.02
Girls Middle School USA Top 500[8][9] 2:18.03 - 2:48.00
Girls High School Japan Top 100[10][3] 2:07.34 - 2:16.34 2:06.47 - 2:15.70
Girls High School USA Top 100[11] 2:02.38 - 2:12.83 2:01.61 - 2:13.09

1500 meters

A few states of the USA use this distance, among them Oregon, Florida and Massachusetts.

1500 meters Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys Junior High School Japan Top 150[4] 3:59.40 - 4:13.77
Boys Middle School USA Top 200[8][9] 4:21.07 - 5:17
Boys High School Japan Top 100[10][3] 3:51.65 - 3:59.10 3:44.21 - 3:57.87
Boys High School USA Top 31, Top 100[11][12][9] 3:47.31 - 3:59.68 3:49.51 - 4:08.0
Girls Junior High School Japan Top 200[4] 4:23.92 - 4:45.49
Girls Middle School USA Top 200[8][9] 4:58.73 - 6:01.00
Girls High School Japan Top 200[10][3] 4:20.44 - 4:37.68 4:17.13 - 4:36.64
Girls High School USA Top 28, Top 200[11][9][12] 4:16.98 - 4:39.92 4:14.50 - 4:55.0

1600 meters

1600 meters Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys Middle School USA Top 200[8][9] 4:39.0 - 5:24.0
Boys High School USA Top 100, Top 200[11][9][12] 4:04.9 to 4:15.05 4:00.29 to 4:18.0
Girls Middle School USA Top 200[8][9] 5:09.26 - 6:07.5
Girls High School USA Top 100, Top 200[11][9][12] 4:38.15 to 4:58.15 4:33.82 to 5:03.0


3000 meters

A few states of the USA use this distance, among them Oregon, Massachusetts and Florida.

3000 meters Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys Junior High School Japan Top 250[4] 8:27.57 - 9:09.8
Boys Middle School USA Top 100[8][9] 9:36.35 - 12:05
Boys High School Japan Top 50[10][3] 8:17.85 - 8:40.14 7:59.12 - 8:32.69
Boys High School USA Top 23, Top 100[11][9][12] 8:09.09 - 8:31.80 8:28.46 - 9:04.0
Girls Junior High School Japan Top 100[4] 9:12.89 - 10:06.89
Girls Middle School USA Top 30[8][9] 10:54.8 - 12:47.67
Girls High School Japan Top 400[10][3] 9:04.63 - 9:59.02 8:58.77 - 9:56.75
Girls High School USA Top 50, Top 100[11][9][12] 9:26.9 - 10:06.6 9:15.11 - 10:25.0

3200 meters

3200 meters Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys Middle School USA Top 150[8][9] 10:54.33 - 13:10
Boys High School USA Top 100[11] 8:46.04 - 9:13.1 8:34.23 - 9:15.54
Girls Middle School USA Top 70[8][9] 12:03.05 - 15:40/28
Girls High School USA Top 100[11] 10:04.07 - 10:52.32 9:52.13 - 10:51.52


2000 meter steeplechase

In the USA, the steeplechase is still relatively uncommon in high school. One example is New York State, where high school boys compete in the 3000 meter steeplechase and the high school girls compete in the 2000 meter steeplechase. In many states, both boys and girls compete in the 2000 meter steeple chase.[12]

2000 meter steeplechase Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys High School USA Top 5, Top 100[13][12] 5:52.63 - 6:03.33 5:54.58 - 7:48.40
Girls High School Japan Top 2[10] 7:06.62 and 7:23.11
Girls High School USA Top 5, Top 100[13][12] 16:36.34 - 16:50.47 6:42.86 - 8:11.0


3000 meter steeplechase

3000 meter steeplechase Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys High School Japan Top 100[10][3] 9:06.10 - 9:26.91 8:54.55 - 9:25.34
Boys High School USA Top 10, Top 100[13][12] 9:08.11 - 9:35.80 9:07.02 - 10:50.0
Girls High School Japan Top 2[10] 10:50.14 and 10:52.84
Girls High School USA Top 1, [13][12] 10:52.82 10:42.22


5000 meters

Japanese high school boys regularly run 5000 meters on the track rather than 3000 meters. USA high school boys rarely run this distance except during cross country.

5000 meters Age Group Country # of Athletes Time Range 2007 Time Range 2008
Boys High School Japan Top 500[10][3] 14:00.8 - 14:57.57 13:33.24 - 14:56.94
Boys High School USA Top 5[13] 13:55.96 - 14:41.96
Girls High School Japan Top 200[10][3] 15:27.98 - 17:24.99 15:02.28 - 17:19.84
Girls High School USA Top 5[13] 16:36.34 - 16:50.47 16:18.91 - 17:20.07



References and Notes

  1. Middle distance track event, Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Date of last revision: 17 April 2009 01:48 UTC Retrieved 22 April 2009 13:20 UTC Primary contributors: Revision history statistics Page Version ID: 284334302
  2. Yamashita Makoto, Long Distance: Preparation Season Training, Track and Field Magazine (Japan), Vol 56 No 3, February 2006, page 220.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 2008 High School Middle Distance Detailed List, All Japan High School Ekiden Spectator's Guide, January Supplement, Track and Field Magazine (Japan), Vol 59 No 1, January 2009, pages 87-90.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 2008 Japan and Junior High School Middle Distance Top 100, Track and Field Magazine (Japan), Vol 59 No 1, January 2009, pages 152-153.
  5. New Athletes in Middle Distance and Race Walking Top 10 lists, Track and Field Magazine (Japan), Vol 59 No 1, January 2009, pages 154.
  6. iaaf.org - 5000 Metre Records - Outdoor
  7. iaaf.org - 5000 Metre Records - Indoor
  8. 8.00 8.01 8.02 8.03 8.04 8.05 8.06 8.07 8.08 8.09 8.10 Athletic.Net middle school
  9. 9.00 9.01 9.02 9.03 9.04 9.05 9.06 9.07 9.08 9.09 9.10 9.11 9.12 9.13 9.14 9.15 www/.Milesplit.us/rankings, National Outdoor TF Rankings, accessed 25/01/2009
  10. 10.00 10.01 10.02 10.03 10.04 10.05 10.06 10.07 10.08 10.09 10.10 2007 High School Detailed List by Year-in-School, Track and Field Magazine (Japan), Vol 58 No 6, April 2008, pages 182-196.
  11. 11.0 11.1 11.2 11.3 11.4 11.5 11.6 11.7 11.8 11.9 www.Dyestat.com, accessed 25/01/2009
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 Athletic.Net high school
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 13.5 Track and Field News, accessed 25/01/2009
  • Track and Field Magazine (in Japanese, Rikujou kyougi magazine); contact Baseball Magazine Company, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0073; sportsclick.jp/track).
  • Milesplit. US, as of 2008, represents results primarily from the eastern states of USA.
  • Athletic.net, as of 2008, represents results from all states of USA, but especially the western states.
  • The centralized collection of high school and especially middle school data in the USA is relatively new, and there is more 2008 data than 2007 data. For both high school and middle school, many good performances may not have been reported to the various agencies.
  • Middle school often implies the students are one year younger than junior high. Japanese junior high corresponds with USA 7th, 8th and 9th grades.

See also

  • Ekiden