The Men’s One Mile World Record Progression


Although running aficionados started booking mile records since the 1850’s, I have only shown below the records set during the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF) era (established 1912) because  there was no official governing body that oversees the sport before said time, which resulted in numerous versions of a world record.

To June 21, 2009, the IAAF has ratified 32 world records in the event.

Time Athlete Nationality Date Venue
4:14.4 John Paul Jones United States 31 May 1913 Allston, Mass.
4:12.6 Norman Taber United States 16 July 1915 Allston, Mass.
4:10.4 Paavo Nurmi Finland 23 August 1923 Stockholm
4:09.2 Jules Ladoumègue France 4 October 1931 Paris
4:07.6 Jack Lovelock New Zealand 15 July 1933 Princeton, N.J.
4:06.7* Glenn Cunningham United States 16 June 1934 Princeton, N.J.
4:06.4 Sydney Wooderson United Kingdom 28 August 1937 Motspur Park
4:06.1* Gunder Hägg Sweden 1 July 1942 Göteborg
4:06.2 Arne Andersson Sweden 10 July 1942 Stockholm
4:04.6 Gunder Hägg Sweden 4 September 1942 Stockholm
4:02.6 Arne Andersson Sweden 1 July 1943 Göteborg
4:01.6 Arne Andersson Sweden 18 July 1944 Malmö
4:01.3* Gunder Hägg Sweden 17 July 1945 Malmö
3:59.4 Roger Bannister United Kingdom 6 May 1954 Oxford
3:57.9* John Landy Australia 21 June 1954 Turku
3:57.2 Derek Ibbotson United Kingdom 19 July 1957 London
3:54.5 Herb Elliott Australia 6 August 1958 Santry, Dublin
3:54.4 Peter Snell New Zealand 27 January 1962 Wanganui
3:54.04* Peter Snell New Zealand 17 November 1964 Auckland
3:53.6 Michel Jazy France 9 June 1965 Rennes
3:51.3 Jim Ryun United States 17 July 1966 Berkeley, Cal.
3:51.1 Jim Ryun United States 23 June 1967 Bakersfield, Cal.
3:51.0 Filbert Bayi Tanzania 17 May 1975 Kingston
3:49.4 John Walker New Zealand 12 August 1975 Göteborg
3:48.95* Sebastian Coe United Kingdom 17 July 1979 Oslo
3:48.8 Steve Ovett United Kingdom 1 July 1980 Oslo
3:48.53 Sebastian Coe United Kingdom 19 August 1981 Zürich
3:48.40 Steve Ovett United Kingdom 26 August 1981 Koblenz
3:47.33 Sebastian Coe United Kingdom 28 August 1981 Bruxelles
3:46.32 Steve Cram United Kingdom 27 July 1985 Oslo
3:44.39 Noureddine Morceli Algeria 5 September 1993 Rieti
3:43.13 Hicham El Guerrouj Morocco 7 July 1999 Rome

Asterisks indicate actual times run. The IAAF ratified rounded times in these cases.

Over the decades, the IAAF has had evolving rules on rounding times when ratifying records. Into the 1950s, times were rounded up to the nearest 0.2 of a second, as most races were timed with manual stopwatches. Into the 1960s, as electronic timing started to become more widespread, records were rounded to the nearest 0.1 of a second. This was further refined in 1981 to the current level of accuracy, to 0.01 of a second.

Thus, Cunningham’s 4:06.7, Hägg’s 4:06.1 and 4:01.3, Landy’s 3:57.9, Snell’s 3:54.03 and Coe’s 3:48.95 were ratified by the IAAF as 4:06.8, 4:06.2, 4:01.4, 3:58.0, 3:54.1 and 3:49.0 respectively.

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This entry was posted in 02 Mile Matters, 03 My Notes, On World Record Progressions and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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