Men's World Records

World records for each men's track and field event recognized by the IAAF.

Men's track & field world records, as recognized by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF).

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100 Meters

Usain Bolt of Jamaica
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Usain Bolt, Jamaica, 9.58. Bolt, who was once a 200-meter specialist, broke the 100-meter world record for the third time during a thrilling showdown with Tyson Gay at the World Outdoor Championships in Berlin on Aug. 16, 2009. The Jamaican pulled ahead of Gay early in the race and never let up, finishing in 9.58 seconds. The victory came exactly one year after Bolt broke the record for the second time, winning the 2008 Olympic gold medal in 9.69.

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200 Meters

Usain Bolt breaks his own 200-meter world record at the 2009 World Championships. Michael Steele/Getty Images

Usain Bolt, Jamaica, 19.19. Bolt broke his own world mark at the 2009 World Outdoor Track & Field Championships, where he finished in 19.19 seconds on Aug. 20. He first broke Michael Johnson's 12-year-old mark during the Olympic final exactly one year ealier, finishing in 19.30 seconds while running into a slight headwind (0.9 kilometers per hour).

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400 Meters

Michael Johnson crosses the finish line with a gold medal and a new world 400-meter record at the 1999 World Championships in Seville, Spain. Shaun Botterill/Allsport/Getty Images

Michael Johnson, USA, 43.18. Many expected Johnson to eventually break Butch Reynolds' mark of 43.29 seconds, set in 1988, but 1999 seemed an unlikely year for the record to fall. Johnson suffered from leg injuries that season, missed the U.S. Championships and ran only four 400-meter races before the World Championships (where he gained an automatic entry as the defending champ). By the day of the World final, however, it was apparent that Johnson was in top form and that Reynolds' record was in jeopardy. Johnson pulled away from the pack in mid-race and sprinted into the history books.

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800 Meters

David Rudisha. Scott Barbour/Getty Images

David Rudisha, Kenya, 1:40.91. Former record-holder Wilson Kipketer (1:41.11) once told David Rudisha that he could be the one to break Kipketer's mark. Kipketer was right. Rudisha first broke the record on Aug. 22, 2010, running 1:41.09 in Berlin. One week later, on Aug. 29, Rudisha lowered the mark to 1:41.01 at the IAAF World Challenge meet in Rieti, Italy. Rudisha lowered the record a third time in the 2012 Olympic final. He started fast, reached 400 meters in 49.3 seconds, then ran the second 400 in 51.6.

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1,000 Meters

Noah Ngeny set the 1000-meter world mark in 1999. Getty Images/John Gichigi/Allsport

Noah Ngeny, Kenya, 2:11.96. Noah Ngeny broke Sebastian Coe's 18-year-old world mark in a time of 2:11.96 at Rieti, Italy, on Sept. 5, 1999. The record hasn't been seriously challenged since.

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1,500 Meters

Hicham El Guerrouj, Morocco, 3:26.00. Hicham El Guerrouj was virtually alone when he completed his record-setting 1,500-meter effort of 3:26.00 on July 14, 1998, in Rome. Previously, Algerian Noureddine Morceli had run the four fastest 1,500s in history, with El Guerrouj fifth.

Read more about Hicham El Guerrouj's 2004 Olympic 1500-meter triumph.

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One Mile

Hicham El Guerrouj, Morocco, 3:43.13. The mile isn’t run in the Olympics or the world championships. But it still captures people’s attention, even though the record has been unchanged since Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj won a brilliant battle with Noah Ngeny on July 7, 1999, in Rome’s Olympic Stadium. With Ngeny virtually on his heels down the stretch, El Guerrouj broke the mile record with a time of 3:43.13. Ngeny’s time of 3:43.40 remains the second fastest mile.

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2,000 Meters

Hicham El Guerrouj, Morocco, 4:44.79. On Sept. 7, 1999, Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj capped a two-season assault on the record book by setting his third world mark – all previously held by Noureddine Morceli – while winning the 2,000 meters in 4:44.79. El Guerrouj topped Morceli’s old record by more than three seconds.

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3,000 Meters

Daniel Komen, Kenya, 7:20.67. Daniel Komen couldn’t qualify for his country’s Olympic team in 1996 – he was fourth in Kenya’s 5,000-meter trials – but shortly after the Atlanta Games he shattered Noureddine Morceli's 3,000-meter world record by 4.4 seconds, with a time of 7:20.67, in Rieta, Italy on Sept. 1, 1996.

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5,000 Meters

Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 12:37.35. Kenenisa Bekele took two seconds off the 5,000-meter record with a time of 12:37.35 set in Hengelo, The Netherlands on May 31, 2004. Kenyan David Kiplak set the pace for about half the race, leaving Bekele to attack the record on his own thereafter. Bekele was more than one second behind the record pace entering the final ​lap, but finished the lap in 57.85 seconds to earn the prize.

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10,000 Meters

Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia, 26:17.53. Keninisa Bekele added the 10,000-meter record to his resume on Aug. 26, 2005, running 26:17.53 in Brussels, Belgium. Bekele's pace-setter was his brother Tariku, who helped Bekele stay five seconds ahead of the record pace through 5,000 meters. Bekele remained ahead of the necessary pace and, as he did when breaking the 5,000 record, Bekele finished strong, with a 57-second final lap.

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110-Meter Hurdles

Aries Merritt set the world record in the 110-meter hurdles shortly after earning the 2012 Olympic gold medal. Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Aries Merritt, United States, 12.80. Sept. 7, 2012. Merritt tweaked his style before the 2012 season, reducing his strides from eight to seven going into the first hurdle. The move paid off with an Olympic gold medal and, shortly thereafter, a new world record, set during the 2012 Diamond League final in Brussels.

Former record: Dayron Robles, Cuba, 12.87. In 2006, Dayron Robles witnessed the 110-meter hurdles world record being broken, as he ran fourth in the race in which China's Liu Xiang set the former mark of 12.88 seconds. On June 12, 2008 Robles was again on the track for a record-breaking performance, but this time he was the one setting the mark as he nudged the record down to 12.87 with a Grand Prix victory in Ostrava, Czech Republic.

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400-Meter Hurdles

Kevin Young, USA, 46.78. Young was a respectable high school hurdler but he didn't receive a major college scholarship. So Young walked on at UCLA and blossomed quickly, winning NCAA 400-meter championships in 1987-88. He later employed an unusual strategy to break the world record at the 1992 Olympics. Whereas top-level hurdlers generally take 13 strides between hurdles in the 400, Young decided to use just 12 on the fourth and fifth hurdles. He'd noticed previously that he was using shorter, choppy strides at that portion of the event. By reducing his strides to 12, Young took longer strides and gained speed.

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3,000-Meter Steeplechase

Saif Saaeed Shaheen, Qatar, 7:53.63. The Kenyan-born Shaheen set the mark on Sept. 3, 2004 in Brussels, Belgium, on the same track that former world record-holder Brahim Boulami established his record in 2001. Boulami witnessed his record’s demise first-hand, finishing third in the event. Shaheen sat in third for much of the race, taking the lead with three laps remaining and finishing in 7:53.63.

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20-Kilometer Race Walk

Yusuke Suzuki, Japan, 1:16:36. One week after France's Yohann Diniz set the 20K race walking record of 1:17:02 at the French Race Walking Championships, Suzuki lowered the world mark by 26 seconds. Suzuki accomplished his feat on March 15, 2015 while winning the Asian Championships for the third time. Noted as a fast starter, Suzuki moved through the first 6 km in 22:53 and reached the halfway mark in 38:05. He maintained his pace through most of the race's second half, reaching 16 km in 1:01:07, and posting a time of 38:31 for the second half of the race.

Former records: Vladimir Kanaykin, Russia, 1:17:16. Kanaykin was the official - but controversial - record-holder for more than seven years, courtesy of his performance at the IAAF Race Walking Challenge, held in Saransk, Russia on September 29, 2007. Kanaykin finished in 1:17:16, breaking the previous mark held by Ecuador's Jefferson Perez (1:17:21). In 2008, Sergey Morozov (1:16:43) beat Kanaykin's record at the Russian National Championships, but the performance wasn't ratified because the event didn't feature the IAAF-required three international judges. 

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50-Kilometer Race Walk

Yohann Diniz celebrates his record-breaking performance at the 2014 European Championships. Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Yohann Diniz, France, 3:32:33. Diniz shattered Denis Nizhegorodov's former former record of 3:34:14 at the European Championships in Zurich on August 15, 2014, Diniz and Mikhail Ryzhov exchanged leads for much of the race. Diniz trailed the Russian through 10 km, which Ryzhov reached in 43:44. Diniz led after 20 km (1:26:55), Ryzhov had a slim lead through 30 km (2:09:20), but by 40 km Diniz (2:51:12) had a 39-second advantage and wasn't caught again.

Check out Denis Nizhegorodov's profile page.

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Dennis Kimetto, Kenya, 2:02:57. Running in the Berlin Marathon on Sept. 28, 2014, Kimetto became the first man to break through the 2:03 barrier. Kimetto ran a negative split –1:01:45 for the first half of the race and 1:01:12 for the second half – but he didn't run away with the race, as fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai also beat the former world record by finishing in 2:03:13.

Former record:

Wilson Kipsang, Kenya, 2:03.23. Kipsang set his record on the fast Berlin course on Sept. 29, 2013. He ran with the lead pack – but didn't move in front himself until late in the race – and reached the halfway point in 1:01:32, putting him 12 seconds ahead of the world record pace. When the final pacemaker dropped out around the 35-kilometer mark, Kipsang was a bit behind the necessary pace. He then took his first lead and had enough left in reserve to pick up the pace and trim 15 seconds from the old world mark.

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4 x 100-Meter Relay

Jamaica's world-record relay team celebrates its 2012 Olympic gold medal. From left: Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt, Nesta Carter, Michael Frater. Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Jamaica (Nesta Carter, Michael Frater, Yohan Blake, Usain Bolt), 36.84. Jamaica won the 2012 Olympic gold medal and topped its previous world record of 37.04, set at the 2011 World Championship. Using the same four runners who established the previous mark, the Jamaicans edged a strong United States team on August 11, 2012. The U.S. was slightly ahead for two legs before Yohan Blake edged in front of American Tyson at the end of the third leg. Usain Bolt then completed the victory, running on his third world record-breaking relay squad.

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4 x 200-Meter Relay

Yohan Blake anchored Jamaica's record-setting 4 x 200-meter relay squad in 2014. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Jamaica (Nickel Ashmeade, Warren Weir, Jermaine Brown, Yohan Blake), 1:18.63. The Jamaican quartet broke a 20-year-old mark set by the American Santa Monica Track Club, which included Carl Lewis. Competing in the first IAAF World Relays on May 24, 2014, Jamaica ran the first two legs (which totaled a bit less than 400 meters because of the staggered start) in 39 seconds flat, then ran the final two legs in 39.63.

Former record: United States (Mike Marsh, Leroy Burrell, Floyd Heard, Carl Lewis), 1:18.68.

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4 x 400-Meter Relay

United States (Andrew Valmon, Quincy Watts, Butch Reynolds, Michael Johnson), 2:54.29. At the 1993 World Championships in Stuttgart, Germany, the U.S. broke its own record, set at the 1992 Olympics. Valmon ran the first leg in 44.43 seconds, followed by Watts (43.59), Reynolds (43.36) and Johnson (42.91).

In 1998, a U.S. team of Jerome Young, Antonio Pettigrew, Tyree Washington and Johnson set a new mark of 2:54.20 during the Goodwill Games. The record stood for 10 years, until Pettigrew admitted to using performance-enhancing drugs. The 1998 mark was rescinded, and the Americans' 1993 record was reinstated as the world standard.

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4 x 800-Meter Relay

Kenya (Joseph Mutua, William Yiampoy, Ismael Kombich, Wilfred Bungei), 7:02.43. The Kenyans set their mark at the 2006 Memorial van Damme in Brussels, Belgium, breaking a 24-year-old British record. The second-place American team also topped the former mark, helping push the Kenyans into world-record territory.

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4 x 1,500-Meter Relay

Kenya's record-breaking squad at the 2014 World Relays, from left: Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat, James Magut and Asbel Kiprop. Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Kenya (Collins Cheboi, Silas Kiplagat, James Magut, Asbel Kiprop), 14: 22.22. The Kenyans set their mark at the inaugural IAAF World Relays on May 25, 2014. The United States led the race after the first leg, but Kiplagat moved in front late in the second leg and Kenya then ran away from the field.

Former record: Kenya (William Biwott Tanui, Gideon Gathimba, Geoffrey Rono, Augustine Kiprono Choge), 14:36.23. The Kenyan quartet beat Germany's 32-year old mark by more than two seconds at the Memorial van Damme meet in Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 4, 2009.

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High Jump

Javier Sotomayor, Cuba, 2.45 meters (8 feet, ½ inch). Javier Sotomayor set the current world high jump record on July 27, 1993. He first established the world mark with a 2.43-meter jump at the Caribbean Championships in Puerto Rico on July 30, 1989. Sotomayor then broke the eight-foot (2.44-meter) barrier before setting the current mark.

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Pole Vault

Renaud Lavillenie, France, 6.16 meters (20 feet, 2½ inches). Competing in Donetsk, Ukraine - the home town of former world record-holder Sergey Bubka - and with Bubka in attendance, Lavillenie missed twice at 6.01/19-8½, succeeded on his third attempt, then cleared 6.16 on his first try. Although the record was set indoors, it's accepted as the overall pole vault world record. Bubka set his previous record of 6.15/20-2 in Donetsk in 1993. He owns the outdoor world record of 6.14/20-1¾.

Competing in Donetsk, Ukraine - the home town of former world record-holder Sergey Bubka - and with Bubka in attendance, Lavillenie missed twice at 6.01/19-8½, succeeded on his third attempt, then cleared 6.16 on his first try. Although the record was set indoors, it's accepted as the overall pole vault world record. Bubka set his previous record of 6.15/20-2 in Donetsk in 1993. He owns the outdoor world record of 6.14/20-1¾.

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Long Jump

Mike Powell celebrates his world-record leap in 1991. Bob Martin/Getty Images

Mike Powell, United States, 8.95 meters (29 feet, 4½ inches). Carl Lewis entered the 1991 world championships in Tokyo with a 10-year, 65-meet winning streak in the long jump, but fellow American Mike Powell ended the streak with a record-setting effort of 8.95 meters (29 feet, 4½ inches), besting Bob Beamon's 23-year-old mark. Lewis led the Tokyo event, held on Aug. 3, when he leaped a wind-aided personal best 8.91 meters (29-2¾) on his fourth jump. Powell then surpassed his rival on his fifth jump.

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Triple Jump

Jonathan Edwards, Great Britain, 18.29 meters (60 feet, ¼ inch). Edwards was a solid jumper – winning the bronze medal at the 1993 World Championships – but didn’t become a record contender until his breakout season of 1995, when he topped the triple jump mark three times. First, he flew past Willie Banks’ record (17.97 meters, 58 feet, 11½ inches) with two wind-aided jumps, then edged past Banks with a legal 17.98/58-11¾ in Salamanca, Spain. Shortly thereafter, Edwards opened the 1995 World Championship final by leaping 18.16/59-7, then topped himself with a second-round 18.29.

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Shot Put

Randy Barnes, United States, 23.12 meters (75 feet, 10 inches). It’s one of the oldest and most controversial marks in the track and field record book. Barnes was not only ready to take a run at Ulf Timmerman’s world record in the spring of 1990 – Barnes claims to have thrown 79-2 in practice before breaking the mark – but he called his shot. Days before the Jack in the Box Invitational in Los Angeles, Barnes told reporters that Timmerman’s record “should go” at the May 20 meet. Go it did. All of Barnes’ six attempts traveled past 70 feet. He scored the record on his second try, then went on to average 73-10¾ for the day. Less than three months later, however, Barnes tested positive for an anabolic steroid. Barnes’ two-year suspension was upheld on appeal, although the review panel criticized the drug testing procedure on which his suspension was based.

Read more about Barnes' 1996 gold medal-winning performance.

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Discus Throw

Jurgen Schult, East Germany, 74.08 meters (243 feet).

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Hammer Throw

Yuriy Syedikh, USSR, 86.74 meters (284 feet, 7 inches).

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Javelin Throw

Jan Zelezny, Czech Republic, 98.48 meters 323 feet, 1 inch).

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Ashton Eaton celebrates his decathlon world record. Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Ashton Eaton, United States, 9,045 points. Eaton edged past his former world mark of 9,039 points while taking the gold medal at the 2015 World Championships. Eaton enjoyed a strong first day, running the 100 in 10.23 seconds (the best time ever in a World Championship decathlon), leaping 7.88 meters (25 feet, 10¼ inches) in the long jump, throwing the shot 14.52/47-7½, clearing 2.01/6-7 in the long jump, and then running the 400 meters in 45 seconds flat, an all-time decathlon best.

On day two, Eaton ran the 110 hurdles in 13.69, threw the discus 43.34/142-2, cleared 5.20/17-¾ in the pole vault and threw the javelin 63.63/208-9 before finishing the 1500 in 4:17.52, to improve his previous world mark by 6 points.