The Full Wiki

800 metres: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.

Did you know ...

More interesting facts on 800 metres

Include this on your site/blog:


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The 800 meter race (or 800 meters) is a common track running event. It is the shortest common middle distance track event. The 800 meter is run over two laps of the track (400 meter track) and has always been an Olympic event. During indoor track season the event is usually run on a 200 meter track, therefore requiring four laps. It was included in the first woman's track program in 1928, but suspended until 1960 because of shock at the exhaustion it caused the competitors. By contrast, without today's training regimes, male competitors of the day were expected to run themselves to exhaustion in competition.[citation needed]

The event requires both sprinting speed and physical endurance to last two laps, therefore combining challenging aspects of both sprinting and middle distance into a single race.



In modern 800 m races, runners start from staggered positions on the track and must remain in their respective lanes until the end of the first curve (about 115 m). After the first curve, competitors may break for the inside, as long as they do not deliberately obstruct or push another competitor. Running at full speed for the entire distance is impossible and a runner's strategy and tactics are a factor in reaching the finish line first. Running in the lead is often considered a disadvantage, as trailing runners can choose when to accelerate past the leader, and wind resistance has a greater effect on those in the front of the pack. Runners in lane one but not leading the race must also be careful to avoid becoming boxed in by other runners on their outside, as this eliminates the crucial ability to completely control one's own pace. Running in last place is also not recommended, as there may be too much ground to make up when the final sprint for the finish starts.

However, it can be sensible for an athlete to remain at the back of the field if the pace at the front is far too fast, provided that the athlete in question does not leave too much ground to make up. This was illustrated by Kelly Holmes at the 2004 Summer Olympics, where Holmes stayed at the rear of the field until the last 300 m before making a decisive move. Yuriy Borzakovskiy used similar tactics to win the men's race the same year. A more unorthodox tactical move came from John Woodruff who, in the 1936 Summer Olympics, was boxed in by runners early in the race. He slowed almost to a complete stop, let the runners pass, and then took the third lane to come from behind and take the victory. In the 1972 Summer Olympics, Dave Wottle, demonstrated yet another unusual tactic by crossing the 400 m mark in last place, unfazed by the overly fast pace, and passing nearly every racer in the last 150 meters, taking the gold. Split times showed Wottle actually ran fairly even splits (within a few tenths of a second), while his competitors had not.

In top class races, the lane start usually ensures a brisk pace for the first 200 m. Occasionally, no one will be happy to lead, and the field will bunch for the remainder of the first lap. This will lead to a slow first 400 m, leaving the runners extra energy for a hard sprint on the second lap, favouring the sprint type 800 m runner. Alternatively, one runner will ensure a fast first lap and the winner will be the athlete who slows least on the second lap. This tactic favours the endurance or distance type 800 m runner. Some 800 m runners are able to run world-class times with even laps, or even negative splits (which means the second lap is quicker than the first).


800 m runners are often fast enough to run in the 4x400 m relay but only Alberto Juantorena and Jarmila Kratochvilova have won major international titles at 400 m and 800 m. Competing successfully at 800 m and 1500 m is more common.

World Record for men:

World Record for women:

World Junior Record (19 and under) for men:

World Junior Record (19 and under) for women:

  • Athletes from 10 different countries have won the men's 800 m title.

Top ten all-time athletes on the men's 800 m

Updated September 7, 2009

Rank Time Athlete Nation Date Location
1 1:41.11 Wilson Kipketer  Denmark 24 August 1997 Cologne
2 1:41.73 Sebastian Coe  United Kingdom 10 June 1981 Florence
3 1:41.77 Joaquim Cruz  Brazil 26 August 1984 Cologne
4 1:42.01 David Rudisha  Kenya 6 September 2009 Rieti
5 1:42.28 Sammy Koskei  Kenya 26 August 1984 Cologne
6 1:42.34 Wilfred Bungei  Kenya 8 September 2002 Rieti
7 1:42.47 Yuriy Borzakovskiy  Russia 24 August 2001 Brussels
8 1:42.55 Andre Bucher  Switzerland 17 August 2001 Zürich
9 1:42.58 Vebjørn Rodal  Norway 31 July 1996 Atlanta
10 1:42.60 Johnny Gray  United States 28 August 1985 Koblenz

Top ten all-time athletes on the women's 800 m

Rank Time Athlete Country Date Location
1 1:53.28 Jarmila Kratochvílová  Czechoslovakia July 26, 1983 Munich
2 1:53.43 Nadezhda Olizarenko  Soviet Union July 27, 1980 Moscow
3 1:54.01 Pamela Jelimo  Kenya August 29, 2008 Zurich
4 1:54.44 Ana Fidelia Quirot  Cuba September 9, 1989 Barcelona
5 1:54.81 Olga Mineyeva  Soviet Union July 27, 1980 Moscow
6 1:54.94 Tatyana Kazankina  Soviet Union July 26, 1976 Montreal
7 1:55.05 Doina Melinte  Romania August 1, 1982 Bucharest
8 1:55.19 Maria de Lurdes Mutola  Mozambique August 17, 1994 Zurich
Jolanda Ceplak  Slovenia July 20, 2002 Heusden-Zolder
10 1:55.26 Sigrun Grau  East Germany August 31, 1987 Rome

Best Year Performance

Men's Seasons Best (Outdoor)

Year Time Athlete Location
1970 1:44.80  Ken Swenson (USA) Stuttgart
1971 1:44.7  Dicky Broberg (RSA) Stellenbosch
1972 1:44.3  Dave Wottle (USA) Eugene
1973 1:43.7  Marcello Fiasconaro (ITA) Milan
1974 1:43.5  Rick Wohlhuter (USA) Eugene
1975 1:43.79  Mike Boit (KEN) Zürich
1976 1:43.50  Alberto Juantorena (CUB) Montreal
1977 1:43.44  Alberto Juantorena (CUB) Sofia
1978 1:43.84  Olaf Beyer (GDR) Prague
1979 1:42.33  Sebastian Coe (GBR) Oslo
1980 1:44.53  Donald Paige (USA) Eugene
1981 1:41.73  Sebastian Coe (GBR) Florence
1982 1:44.45  Steve Cram (GBR) London
1983 1:43.61  Steve Cram (GBR) Oslo
1984 1:41.77  Joaquim Carvalho Cruz (BRA) Cologne
1985 1:42.49  Joaquim Carvalho Cruz (BRA) Koblenz
1986 1:43.19  Steve Cram (GBR) Rieti
1987 1:43.06  Billy Konchellah (KEN) Rome
1988 1:42.65  Johnny Gray (USA) Zürich
1989 1:43.16  Paul Ereng (KEN) Zürich
1990 1:42.97  Peter Elliott (GBR) Seville
1991 1:43.08  José Luiz Barbosa (BRA) Rieti
1992 1:42.80  Johnny Gray (USA) New Orleans
1993 1:43.54  Nixon Kiprotich (KEN) Rieti
1994 1:43.17  Benson Koech (KEN) Rieti
1995 1:42.87  Wilson Kipketer (DEN) Monaco
1996 1:41.83  Wilson Kipketer (DEN) Rieti
1997 1:41.11  Wilson Kipketer (DEN) Cologne
1998 1:42.75  Japheth Kimutai (KEN) Stuttgart
1999 1:42.27  Wilson Kipketer (DEN) Brussels
2000 1:43.12  André Bucher (SUI) Lausanne
2001 1:42.47  Yuriy Borzakovskiy (RUS) Brussels
2002 1:42.32  Wilson Kipketer (DEN) Rieti
2003 1:42.52  Wilfred Bungei (KEN) Brussels
2004 1:43.08  Wilfred Bungei (KEN) Zürich
2005 1:43.70  Wilfred Bungei (KEN) Rieti
2006 1:43.09  Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (RSA) Rieti
2007 1:43.74  Mbulaeni Mulaudzi (RSA) Monaco
2008 1:42.69  Abubaker Kaki (SUD) Oslo
2009 1:42.01  David Lekuta Rudisha (KEN) Rieti

Women's Seasons Best (Outdoor)

Year Time Athlete Location
1976 1:54.94  Tatyana Kazankina (URS) Montreal
1977 1:57.39  Ileana Silai (ROU) Bucharest
1978 1:55.80  Tatyana Providokhina (URS) Prague
1979 1:56.2  Totka Petrova (BUL) Paris
1980 1:53.43  Nadezhda Olizarenko (URS) Moscow
1981 1:56.98  Lyudmila Veselkova (URS) Leningrad
1982 1:55.05  Doina Melinte (ROU) Bucharest
1983 1:53.28  Jarmila Kratochvílová (TCH) Munich
1984 1:55.69  Irina Podyalovskaya (URS) Kiev
1985 1:55.68  Ella Kovacs (ROU) Bucharest
1986 1:56.2  Doina Melinte (ROU) Bucharest
1987 1:55.26  Sigrun Wodars (GDR) Rome
1988 1:56.00  Inna Yevseyeva (URS)
 Nadezhda Olizarenko (URS)
1989 1:54.44  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB) Barcelona
1990 1:55.87  Sigrun Wodars (GDR) Split
1991 1:57.23  Svetlana Masterkova (RUS) Kiev
1992 1:55.54  Ellen van Langen (NED) Barcelona
1993 1:55.43  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Stuttgart
1994 1:55.19  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Zürich
1995 1:55.72  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Monaco
1996 1:56.04  Svetlana Masterkova (RUS) Monaco
1997 1:54.82  Ana Fidelia Quirot (CUB) Cologne
1998 1:56.11  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Zürich
1999 1:55.87  Svetlana Masterkova (RUS) Moscow
2000 1:56.15  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Sydney
2001 1:56.85  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Zürich
2002 1:55.19  Jolanda Čeplak (SLO) Heusden-Zolder
2003 1:55.55  Maria de Lurdes Mutola (MOZ) Madrid
2004 1:56.23  Tatyana Andrianova (RUS) Tula
2005 1:56.07  Tatyana Andrianova (RUS) Tula
2006 1:56.66  Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN) Lausanne
2007 1:56.04  Janeth Jepkosgei (KEN) Osaka
2008 1:54.01  Pamela Jelimo (KEN) Zurich
2009 1:55.45  Caster Semenya (RSA) Berlin

See also


Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary


Wikipedia has an article on:



800 metres


800 metres (uncountable)

  1. (athletics) A middle-distance running race over 800 metres.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address