Revival of the Middle Distance Events


El Guerrouj finally wins an Olympic gold as he defeats Lagat in the 2004 Olympic 1,500m final

Ever since the retirement in 2004, of the two legends and world record holders: Wilson Kipketer (800m), and Hicham El Guerrouj (1,500m and 1 Mile), the men’s middle distance was never the same again.  Fast times are now hard to come by.  As a result, interest among fans slowly dipped, as they yearn for new heroes of said events.

For the 800, there were only 8 sub 1:43:00 from 2005 to 2010, punctuated by 3 successive years with no sub 1:43 (2005-2007).  A far cry from the heydays of Kipketer in 1996 – 2000 where he register sub 1:43 on a regular basis, including 3 sub 1:42 in a span of 40 days in 1997 where he equalled Seb Coe’s then world record, then broke it several days later.

Kipketer: World Record Holder of the men's 800m at 1:41.11

The 1,500m event suffered the same.  El Guerrouj’s retirement after the 2004 Olympics left a big hole in the sports.

Bernard Lagat briefly carried on with his fast times in 2005-2006, and even won 2 golds at the 2007 World Championships (1,500m and 5,000m).  But he was robbed of a potential Olympic glory when he sufferred an injury weeks before the Oympics.

Lagat  is still active though at 35 years old, but his peak is unquestionably over, and may never break his PR of 3:27.40 set in 2004.

Since 2006, 3:30 was only broken once – last year by Kenyan Augustine Choge.

The good news however, is that, young milers who has the potential to go under 3:30 are starting to make their presence felt.

Kiprop (2287) finished 2nd behind Ramzi (1256) in the 2008 Olympic 1,500m finals, but was later awarded the gold after Ramzi failed in the drug testing

Kenyan Asbel Kiprop already has an Olympic Gold as a  result of his upgrade from Silver due to Rashid Ramiz’s doping scandal.

Australian Ryan Greggson has improved a lot this 2010 and if he doesn’t suffer any injuries for the next 3 years, he may be what the Western World needs to revive their people’s interest in miling.

Same story for the 800m, as a revival has started last year with the emergence of two young guns, David Rudisha of Kenya and Abubaker Kaki of Sudan.  Both athlets have submitted 2 sub 1:43 performances for the last 3 years.  And in the next 3 years, expect these two young men to flirt with Kipketer’s WR of 1:41.11.

Kaki is only 21 y.o. but has a PB of 1:42.23 in the 800m

Below are the summary of the number of times, 3mins 30secs was broken for the 1500m races since 2004, the retirement of the great Hicham El Guerrouj:

2010 – 0

2009 – 1 (Augustine Choge)

2008 – 0

2007 – 0

2006 – 3 (Daniel Komen, Rashid Ramzi, Lagat)

2005 – 2 (Lagat  Komen)

Below are the summary of the number of times, 1min 43secs was broken for the 800m races since 2004, the retirement of the great Wilson Kipketer:

2010- 2 (Rudisha, Kaki)

2009 – 3 (Rudisha, Alred Yego, Mbulaeni Mulaudzi)

2008 – 3 (Kaki, Yuriy Borzakovskiy, Yusuf Kamel)

2007 – 0

2006 – 0

2005 – 0

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This entry was posted in 02 Mile Matters, On International Track News and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Revival of the Middle Distance Events

  1. hurdler49 says:

    Good post. When will we ever see another Alberto “El Caballo” Juantorena? The 400m-800m double…. now that’s a unique combination!

    • Ah, that my friend is another story! We may never see another guy winning the Olympic double in 400/800m, as El Caballo is an anomaly of nature (in a good way i mean). He’s one of my childhood heroes you know.

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