Which Track-And-Field Record Is The Toughest?

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Aug. 28, 2011
  • Updated Aug. 29, 2011 at 10:15 AM UTC
Jan Zelezny may own the toughest track-and-field record. Photo; Masters Athletics

Jan Zelezny may own the toughest record in track-and-field. Photo: Masters Athletics

The answer may surprise you.

At the World Championships 100m final in Daegu, South Korea, Jamaican sprinter Yohan Blake took home the gold. His winning time in the race was 9.92 seconds.

Missing from the podium was the world-record holder in that event, Usain Bolt.

Bolt’s record is an impressive one at 9.58 seconds. There are no indications that it’s going to fall anytime soon. This begs the question: Which track-and-field record is the hardest to break? The Wall Street Journal ran an article seeking the answer to this question.

It then compared every world-record time and distance currently on the books to the second-best performer’s marks. While Bolt’s record is impressive, it’s not the toughest. That honor goes to Czech javelin thrower Jan Zelezny. In 1996, he set the world-record mark of 98.48 meters. This throw is 5.47% better than Aki Parviainen’s 93.09.

In fact, Parviainen’s top throw is only sixth-best. The top five throws all belong to Zelezny.

Looking at the 100m record, Bolt’s 9.58 is only 1.15% better than the 9.69 run by American Tyson Gay.

For More: The Wall Street Journal

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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