short profiles of many all-time greats in distance running

Paavo Nurmi

Emil Zátopek

Kipchoge Keino

dominated distance running in the 1920s and early 1930s - World Records at all distances from 1500m to One Hour - 4 Olympic Gold medals at 3 Games in still contested events - was not allowed to run the Marathon in 1932 where he would have been the favourit

totally dominated the 10000m for several years - unique Olympic triple in 1952 - 5000m World Record late in his career after many misses - very unorthodox running stile - probably one of the most untalented greats of them all with only average results over 1500m

Olympic titles over 1500m and the Steeple - also two Olympic silver medals - world class from 1500m to 10000m including Steeple - contested unique triple over 1500m, 5000m and 10000m in Mexico 1968 - also good 800m time

Paul Tergat

Wilson Kipketer

Kenenisa Bekele

World Records at all distances from 10000m to Marathon - great success in XC - frequently beaten by Haile Gebrselassie on the track - finished four times behind Gebrselassie in global 10000m championships

set new standards in 800m running in 1996 and 1997 - great athlete to watch - still dominates the all-time list some years after retirement - not allowed to compete in Atlanta 1996 - never won an Olympic Gold medal

king of the long distances on track and XC since 2003 - in top shape almost unbeatable - historical number of Gold Medals in global championships - great finishing speed on last lap

Haile Gebrselassie

Moses Kiptanui

Hicham El Guerroij

greatest distance runner of all time - good arguments to be named greatest sports person in history - world class results from 1500m to Marathon - world records at all distances from 2 Miles to Marathon - has frequently set World Records for over 14 years

dominated the Steeple for several years - great success also in flat events - didn't qualify for Barcelona 1992 but had unique sequence of marks after - didn't had the best finnishing speed

almost total domination of the 1500m and Mile for close to a decade - fell in 1996 Olympic final while favoured to win - records still unmatched - Olympic double over 1500m and 5000m in 2004 - still has 7/8 and 7/10 of the best times in the 1500m and Mile

Daniel Komen

Saïd Aouita

Ron Clarke

probably one of the most talented distance runners ever - only short time at the top - 3000m World Record from 1996 still unmatched - finished his 1997 world-title over 5000m with world-class 3000m time - never qualified for the Olympic Games - gave Haile Gebrselassie his one and only defeat of significance in the 2nd half of the 1990s

started only relatively late with running - most versatile track distance runner ever - world class results at 800m, later at 10000m than at 800m again - very unfortunate not to win the 800m in Seoul while 5000m World Record holder - totally lost his will and determination after injury problems in the early 1990s

great long distance record setter in the 1960s - unsuccessfull in big Championships - raced very frequently almost all over the world at almost all distances - from 1964 until 1968 raced inclusive heats at least 254 times - biggest improvement of the 10000m World Record - held the National Record at 10000m until 1996 and that at 5000m until 1999 -

Peter Snell

Lasse Viren

Michel Jazy

three Olympic Gold Medals - relatively short career - groundbreaking 800m record in 1962 - won all his five competitions at the Olympics and the Commonwealth Games

four Olympic Gold medals in the 1970s - many indifferent results outside of the Olympics - won the 1972 10000m Gold in world record time after falling shortly before halfway - came in fifth in his Marathon debut in Montreal 1976 one day after his Gold over 5000m

great record setter in the 1960s - absolute highest level from 1500m to 5000m - also good over 800m - fell back from 1st to 4th in the finishing straight of the 5000m finale at the 1964 Olympics

Sebastian Coe

Herb Elliott

Henry Rono

greatest middle distance World Record setter - two Olympic 1500m-titles and four medales at all - world class results over 10 years apart - one of the most elegant runners in history - in his prime years 1979 and 1981 gave impression of rediculous ease while setting records

unbeaten in world class competition over 1500m and 1 Mile - stopped running at the age of 22(?) - won the 1960 Olympic 1500m-title while setting a new World Record - biggest improvement of the Mile World Record

had one of the greatest seasons (1978) in the history of middle- and long distance running when setting World Records in four events (3 olympic events) – had no opportunity to compete at the Olympic Games in 1976 and 1980 because of the Kenyan boycott

John Walker

Sandor Iharos

Vladimir Kuts

wonderfully long career - ran almost every time almost everywhere against the best in the world - overall career record for the 1500m and the Mile which hardly will be matched for the proportions - first under 3:50 for the Mile - also good results over 800m and 5000m

only runner besides Paavo Nurmi who set World records over both 1500m and 10000m - very short time at the top - couldn't compete at the Olympic Games in 1956 beause of the Hungarian Revolution - in all 6 World Records from 1500m to 10000m

won from the front the Olympic long distance double in 1956 - only relatively short time at the top after reaching world-level at age 26 - five World Records in the long distances

Noureddine Morceli

Fernando Mamede

Jim Ryun

almost totally dominated the 1500m and Mile in first half of the nineties - ran 52.0 last lap while winning Zürich-5000m in internationally debut at the distance- very questionable if he had won if El Guerrouj had not fallen in OG 96 - faboulous World Records from 1500m to 3000m - great long sprint finish

started as an 800m runner - steadily improved over the years and finally reached world class level at the long distances - national records from 800m to 10000m - held 10000m World Record for 5 years - never could show his true class at the big championships

ground breaking World Records over 1500m and Mile at very young age - unheard finishing speed while in top shape - very unfortunate at the Olympics because of altitude and fell - lost his ambotion after second Olympic disappointment in 72 while still very young

Salah Hissou

Joaquim Cruz

Steve Ovett

the "third man" of long distance running in the second half of the 90ies - very unfortunate that his prime years actually coincided with Haile Gebrselassies track prime - would have had a great chance to become Olympic Champion in 96 over 5000m if he had competed - still Nr. 4 in the 5000m-10000m combination a full decade after his best years

great sequence of marks in the 800m in 1984 and 1985 - won Olympic title in 84 after winning all the rounds and the final from the front - couldn't get back to his best shape after injury problems in 86 - good results also over 1500m

first in his career not interested in times, but only in winning - famous for his finishing speed - also started setting records after countryman Sebastian Coe became world famous for his records - timewise he probably hadn't achieved his full potiential at all the distances from 1000m to 5000m