MIDDLE-DISTANCE RUNNING events are track races longer than sprints ,
up to 3000 metres. The standard middle distances are the
800 metres ,
* 1 Events
* 1.2 600 yards
* 1.5 880 yards
* 1.7 1
* 2 United States and Japan youth running
* 3 See also * 4 Notes and references * 5 External links
Main article: 500 metres
A very uncommon middle-distance event that is sometimes run by sprinters for muscle stamina training.
This was a popular distance, particularly indoors, when imperial distances were common. In 1882, American Lon Myers set what was then a world record at 600 yards (548.64 metres), running it in 1:11.4. The event was a common event for most American students because it was one of the standardized test events as part of the President\'s Award on Physical Fitness . In the early 1970s, Martin McGrady was unsuccessful at longer or shorter races, but made his reputation, set world records and drew many fans to arenas to watch him race elite Olympians at this odd distance.
Main article: 600 metres
This middle distance length is rather uncommon, and is mainly run by
sprinters wishing to test their endurances at a longer distance. Like
other middle distance races, it evolved from the 600 yard race. The
600 m is also used as an early season stepping stone by
Johnny Gray (United States) holds the record for men: 1:12.81, Santa Monica , 24 May 1986.
Main article: 800 metres
David Rudisha (
The 880 yard run, or half mile, was the forebear to the 800 m distance and has its roots in competitions in the United Kingdom in the 1830s.
Main article: 1000 metres
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. In 1881, Lon Myers set what was then a world record at 1000 yards, running it in 2:13.0.
The men's record is held by
Noah Ngeny (
See also 1000 metres world record progression .
Three laps. A distance seldom raced on its own, but commonly raced as part of the distance medley relay .
There is no recorded world records or world bests. However, Hicham El
Also known as the metric mile, 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
This is a difficult distance at which to compete 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.
At exactly four laps of a normal 400 m track, this distance is raced as a near replacement for the mile (it is, in fact, 9.344 m, about 30.6 feet, shorter; however, it is still colloquially referred to as "the mile"). The 1600 meters is the official distance for this range of races in US high schools . While this race is rarely run outside high school and collegiate invitational competition, it has been held at the international level. The 1500 m, however, is the most common distance run at the college and international levels. The final leg of a distance medley relay is 1600 metres.
An accurate way to run an actual mile on a metric track is to run the additional 9.344 meters before starting the first marked 400 meter lap. Many tracks, especially high-level tracks, will have a waterfall starting line drawn 9.344 meters back for this purpose. Otherwise, on a metric track, there will be a relay zone 10 meters before the common start/finish line, frequently marked by a triangle pointed toward the finish. In many configurations, that triangle is about half a meter wide, making its point extremely close to the mile start line, which would be slightly less than two feet from the marked relay zone (the widest part of the triangle, or line).
This length of middle-distance race, 1760 yards , (1609.344 metres), is very common in countries that do not use the metric system , and is still often referred to as the "Blue Riband " of the track. When the International Amateur Athletic Federation decided in 1976 to recognize only world records for metric distances, it made an exception for the mile and records are kept to this day.
Historically, the mile took the place 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 . 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
Another event that is rarely run, a miler's speed will generally allow him/her to prevail at this distance over less balanced challengers.
Hicham El Guerrouj
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
At exactly eight 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 18.688 metres shorter. In college, the typical runner of this event would convert to the 5,000 metre run (or potentially the 3,000 metre run during indoor season). It should be noted that in most eastern American high schools, colleges, and middle schools, this event is usually considered a long-distance event, depending on the region. It is the longest track distance run in most high school competitions.
Main article: Two miles
This length of long middle-distance or short long-distance race was 3520 yards (3218.688 metres).
Historically, the two mile took the place that the 3000 m and the
3200 m have today. The first man to break the four-minute barrier for
both miles was
Daniel Komen (
2,000 METRE STEEPLECHASE
Another race only run in high school or Masters meets. The typical specialist in this event would move up to the 3000 metre steeplechase in college.
3,000 METRE 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 required to jump over five barriers per lap,
after a flat first 200 m to allow for settling in. One barrier per lap
is placed in front of a water pit, meaning that runners are also
forced to deal with the chafing of wet shoes as they race. The world
records are held by
Saif Saeed Shaheen (
UNITED STATES AND JAPAN YOUTH RUNNING
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 metre events are competed in both genders for junior high school and high school , except that high school boys jump to 5000 metres. Both 3000 and 5000 metre distances are sometimes described as long distance but also frequently as middle distance, 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 metre race might be viewed as middle distance.
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.
800 METRES AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS Junior High School Japan Top 200
1:56.06 - 2:03.91
BOYS Middle School USA Top 500
2:00.67 - 2:29.00
BOYS High School Japan Top 100 1:51.66 - 1:56.34 1:50.85 - 1:57.87
BOYS High School USA Top 100 1:48.63 - 1:53.82 1:48.6 - 1:53.77
GIRLS Junior High School Japan Top 100
2:09.87 - 2:19.02
GIRLS Middle School USA Top 500
2:18.03 - 2:48.00
GIRLS High School Japan Top 100 2:07.34 - 2:16.34 2:06.47 - 2:15.70
GIRLS High School USA Top 100 2:02.38 - 2:12.83 2:01.61 - 2:13.09
A few states of the USA use this distance, among them Oregon, Florida, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
1500 METRES AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS Junior High School Japan Top 150
3:59.40 - 4:13.77
BOYS Middle School USA Top 200
4:21.07 - 5:17
BOYS High School Japan Top 100 3:51.65 - 3:59.10 3:44.21 - 3:57.87
BOYS High School USA Top 31, Top 100 3:47.31 - 3:59.68 3:49.51 - 4:08.0
GIRLS Junior High School Japan Top 200
4:23.92 - 4:45.49
GIRLS Middle School USA Top 200
4:58.73 - 6:01.00
GIRLS High School Japan Top 200 4:20.44 - 4:37.68 4:17.13 - 4:36.64
GIRLS High School USA Top 28, Top 200 4:16.98 - 4:39.92 4:14.50 - 4:55.0
1600 METRES AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS Middle School USA Top 200
4:39.0 - 5:24.0
BOYS High School USA Top 100, Top 200 4:04.9 to 4:15.05 4:00.29 to 4:18.0
GIRLS Middle School USA Top 200
5:09.26 - 6:07.5
GIRLS High School USA Top 100, Top 200 4:38.15 to 4:58.15 4:33.82 to 5:03.0
A few states of the USA use this distance, among them Oregon, Massachusetts, Florida, and Rhode Island.
3000 METRES AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS Junior High School Japan Top 250
8:27.57 - 9:09.8
BOYS Middle School USA Top 100
9:36.35 - 12:05
BOYS High School Japan Top 50 8:17.85 - 8:40.14 7:59.12 - 8:32.69
BOYS High School USA Top 23, Top 100 8:09.09 - 8:31.80 8:28.46 - 9:04.0
GIRLS Junior High School Japan Top 100
9:12.89 - 10:06.89
GIRLS Middle School USA Top 30
10:54.8 - 12:47.67
GIRLS High School Japan Top 400 9:04.63 - 9:59.02 8:58.77 - 9:56.75
GIRLS High School USA Top 50, Top 100 9:26.9 - 10:06.6 9:15.11 - 10:25.0
3200 METRES AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS Middle School USA Top 150
10:54.33 - 13:10
BOYS High School USA Top 100 8:46.04 - 9:13.1 8:34.23 - 9:15.54
GIRLS Middle School USA Top 70
12:03.05 - 15:40/28
GIRLS High School USA Top 100 10:04.07 - 10:52.32 9:52.13 - 10:51.52
2000 METRE STEEPLECHASE
In the USA, the steeplechase is still relatively uncommon in high school.
2000 METRE STEEPLECHASE AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS High School USA Top 5, Top 100 5:52.63 - 6:03.33 5:54.58 - 7:48.40
GIRLS High School Japan Top 2 7:06.62 and 7:23.11
GIRLS High School USA Top 5, Top 100 6:36.34 - 6:50.47 6:42.86 - 8:11.0
3000 METRE STEEPLECHASE
Rarely run in youth competition, though some high school competitions include the 3000m steeplechase, for example, it is an event competed in championships and larger meets in New York State.
3000 METRE STEEPLECHASE AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS High School Japan Top 100 9:06.10 - 9:26.91 8:54.55 - 9:25.34
BOYS High School USA Top 10, Top 100 9:08.11 - 9:35.80 9:07.02 - 10:50.0
GIRLS High School Japan Top 2 10:50.14 and 10:52.84
GIRLS High School USA Top 1, 10:52.82 10:42.22
(Not a middle distance event)
Japanese secondary school boys regularly run
5000 METRES AGE GROUP COUNTRY # OF ATHLETES TIME RANGE 2007 TIME RANGE 2008
BOYS High School Japan Top 500 14:00.8 - 14:57.57 13:33.24 - 14:56.94
BOYS High School USA Top 5
13:55.96 - 14:41.96
GIRLS High School Japan Top 200 15:27.98 - 17:24.99 15:02.28 - 17:19.84
GIRLS High School USA Top 5 16:36.34 - 16:50.47 16:18.91 - 17:20.07
NOTES AND REFERENCES
* ^ Middle-distance running.
* (in Japanese) Track and Field Magazine (Rikujou kyougi magazine);
contact Baseball Magazine Company, Chiyoda-ku Tokyo 102-0073;
* 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.