Did You Know? Running Facts and Trivia

Hicham El Guerrouj, shown here competing at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, still holds the 1-mile world record. Photo: PhotoRun.net

*Derek Ibbotson was the first man to run a mile in exactly 4 minutes.

*Paula Radcliffe holds the current world record for the fastest marathon run by a woman, at 2:15:25.

*The fastest mile ever run was 3:43.13 minutes by Moroccan Hicham el Guerrouj in 1999, a record which still stands today.

*At 100 years old, Fauja Singh was the oldest person to ever run a marathon.

*In 1972 women were first allowed to officially enter the Boston Marathon.

*The first Boston Marathon was held in 1897.

*American sprinter Bob Hayes left competitive running to become a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys.

*The annual Fifth Avenue Mile competition in New York City was first held in 1981.

*Former world-class miler Steve Scott is the founder of speed golf after playing 18 holes in 18 minutes, 29 seconds in 1979.

*American sprinter Gail Devers won the gold medal for the 100-meter dash in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.

*Michael Johnson won four Olympic gold medals for sprinting.

*Over 1 billion pairs of running shoes are sold worldwide every year.

*On average, professional runners take 185-200 steps per minute.

*Atalanta is the Greek goddess of running.

*Until 2011, German runner Horst Preisler held the world record for having run the most marathons, having run over 1,760 marathons. His club teammate Christian Hotta is the new leader with more than 1,820 marathons run.

*The modern 42.195 km standard distance for the marathon was set by the IAAF in May 1921 directly from the length used at the 1908 Summer Olympics in London.

*During the Great Wall of China Marathon, runners have to climb 5,164 steps.

*In the North Pole Marathon runners can actually “walk on water” as the water is completely frozen.

*The average exercise life of a running shoe is 400 miles.

*After finishing a marathon, Oprah Winfrey exclaimed, “Damn! This is better than winning an Emmy!”

*In 1978, Kenyan Runner Henry Rono broke four world records in a span of 81 days but never competed in the Olympics because Kenya boycotted the 1976 and 1980 Olympics.

*Olga Bondarenko was the first woman to win the Olympic gold medal for the 10,000-meter race.

*Hannes Kolehmainen was the first athlete to be nicknamed “Flying Finn”.

*Successful Olympic track athletes, Alvin Kraenzlein and John Walter Tewksbury, both attended University of Pennsylvania.

*While running barefoot South African runner Zola Bud won two IAAF World Cross Country titles.

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