How it works

The 10,000m is a long-distance race with which many recreational runners will be familiar.

On the track, athletes compete over a distance of 25 laps on a standard 400m oval. Athletes form a bunched standing start and can break immediately on the inside.

The race demands a high levels of aerobic capacity with the finishing order determined on time.

At major championships, the 10,000m is typically run as a straight final. It is the longest track event on the major championship programme. 

Although this event is sometimes referred to as the "10km", technically speaking the 10km is the road equivalent of this race.


The Ancient Greeks organised a number of events akin to today’s long-distance races. During the mid-19th century, races for betting purposes were very popular in Great Britain and the USA. 

Every Olympics since 1912 has included a men’s 10,000m, with the women’s equivalent first featuring at the 1988 Games. 

Six men in Olympic history have claimed two Olympic 10,000m titles: Paavo Nurmi (Finland), Emil Zatopek (Czech), Lasse Viren (Finland), Haile Gebrselassie (Ethiopia), Kenenisa Bekele (Ethiopia) and Mo Farah (Great Britain).

Ethiopia has proved the most successful Olympic country in the women’s 10,000m with Tirunesh Dibaba winning gold medals for her nation in 2008 and 2012.

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