For those who are interested in patterns of performance, here is my tabulation from the World Athletics database of the 300 fastest male runners in history that I created for my current Taki’s Magazine column.
|Top 300 Men’s Runners Ever||100m||200m||400m||800m||1500m||5000m||10,000m||Marathon||Total|
|5 Eyes (US UK NZ A C)||148||161||162||78||70||37||37||4||697|
|Other Latin America||1||7||4||3||0||2||3||0||20|
Each column adds up to 300 separate runners ranked by his fastest time ever. E.g., Usain Bolt ranks first in the 100 meter dash for his 9.58 in 2009.
It’s skewed toward the 21st Century but includes some famous old times like Jimmy Hines’ 9.95 in 1968 and Valery Borzov’s 10.07 in 1972.
The Five Eyes are the five Anglo-Saxon powers that have cooperated in intelligence gathering since Alan Turing’s day.
These stats are based on what country the athlete was representing at the time of his best race, not where he was born or where his ancestors were from. Regions of emigration like Africa and Eastern Europe are pretty racially homogeneous. Regions of immigration like the Persian Gulf, Western Europe, and the Five Eyes are not, however. Qatar and Bahrain, for instance, recruit a lot of African athletes.
The 400m vs. 800m gap is highly noticeable in some regions like the Caribbean, West Africa, and East Africa. Because that’s the switch from anaerobic to aerobic, the workout schedule is highly different between the two distances, which creates a cultural gap as well.
And here are top 300’s for various countries:
These were up to date through the men’s 100 meter on Sunday, but not since then.