Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Middle distance track event
The middle distances are races where the runner tries to go as fast as his training has let him. Biological factors that go primarily into a middle distance racer are; developed fast and type1 slow twitch muscles, adrenaline (usually for the final kick), anaerobic respiration (bringing it in after the final kick), racing tactics , and aerobic conditioning.
Notice: in the context of these articles, a minimally trained runner can loosely be termed as a person that has trained consistently for over 10 weeks, and is running the race while in condition from this training. Results from people that have not done this do not reflect their potential whatsoever, and should be considered flukes.
Common distances (and not so common ones):
The standard middle distances are the 800, 1500, mile (in the US), and the 3000. The 3000 is more common in the US at the high school and collegiate level (along with the US two mile) and is in fact not run at the world championships.
- This middle distance length is rather uncommon. The record at this distance for men:
Johnny Gray 1:12.81 Santa Monica, USA 24 May 1986
Ana Fidelia Quirot 1:22.63 Guadalajara, ESP 25 July 1997
- Twice around the track. One of the two premier middle distance events. The event requires excellent 400 m speed as well as excellent aerobic conditioning. There are two common strategies for this race: go out fast for the first 400 meters, and "bring it in" for the next, or try to stay more or less even paced. The first helps most people win competitions, but there are exceptions. The second a more optimal way to attempt world record times. This is a very tough race on the body. The record at this distance for men:
Wilson Kipketer 1:41.11 Köln 24 August 1997
Jarmila Kratochvílová 1:53.28 München 26 July 1983
- More popular than the 500 m is to the sprints. The record at this distance for men:
Noah Ngeny 2:11.96 Rieti 05 September 1999
Svetlana Masterkova 2:28.98 München 23 August 1996
- Common distance that is part of the distance_medley_relay
- The other premier middle distance race. Is becoming more of a prolonged sprint nowadays, with each lap averaging 55 seconds for the world record performance by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1998 at Rome (two 1:50 s 800 m performances back to back). Thus, speed is necessary, and it seems that the more aerobic conditioning, the better. Three and three-quarter laps around the track. Lots of tactics can be employed in this race, too numerous to discuss here. A very tough distance to perform at mentally. This is also known in the US as "The Metric Mile". The record at this distance for men:
Hicham El Guerrouj 3:26.00 Roma 14 July 1998
Yunxia Qu 3:50.46 Beijing 11 September 1993
When the International Amateur Athletic Federation decided in 1976 to recognise only world records for metric distances, it made an exception for the mile and records are kept to this day. (There are no world records for the marathon, also run over imperial distance, because the terrain differs race by race).
Historically, the mile took the place that the 1500 m has today. It is still raced on the world class level, but only at select locations. It can be romantically appreciated as a remnant of the past but is still fiercely contested. It is famous for its 4 minute barrier that so many people tried to break. The term "miler" is sometimes also applied to a 1500 m runner. The record at this distance for men:
Hicham El Guerrouj 3:43.13 Rome 07 July 1999
Svetlana Masterkova 4:12.56 Zurich 14 August 1996
- Another event that is rarely run, it is one where a miler's speed will generally prevail over that of anyone challenging him or her. The record at this distance for men:
Hicham El Guerrouj 4:44.79 Berlin 07 September 1999
Sonia O'Sullivan 5:25.36 Edinburgh 08 July 1994
- Truly on the borderline between middle and longer distances, the 3000 m are a standard race. Requires decent speed, but can be made up with superior aerobic conditioning and race tactics to support that. The record at this distance for men:
Daniel Komen 7:20.67 Rieti 01 September 1996
Junxia Wang 8:06.11 Beijing 13 September 1993
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