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.
|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.