World Records For Lanes

compiled by Jed Brickner

(as of September 16, 2019)

This compilation lists the best performance known to have been achieved in each lane of the track in each of the curve-affected events (200, 400, 400H, 4×1), for men and women.

In contrast to the usual research technique common in our discipline—a search for superlatives of one sort or another—this project involved more a process of elimination. It is not too difficult to find a world-ranking performance achieved in each lane. The trick is to be sure that it is the best.

My method was, on the basis of preliminary research, tentatively to determine a “record” for each lane in each event and then to seek to find out the lane of every performance in that event which surpassed the tentative record. Only when the lane of every mark that could be a record for a lane has been determined, can one have 100% confidence in the results.

Though 100% certainty has not yet been achieved for all of the listed marks, I have a high degree of confidence that virtually all of them are, in fact, the records. This confidence stems in part from the knowledge that marquee athletes are most unlikely to have been asked to run in lanes 1 or 8 (or 9) in invitational meetings, and—except for Michael Johnson’s preference for lane 2 in the 400 in the early ’90s—are generally placed in a middle lane.

Note also that since ’88, Olympic and World Championships runners who have performed best in the prior round have been given lanes 3–6. Previous to that everybody was in a random draw.

For these reasons, for example, any number of performances that better 20.04 for the men’s 200 (the record for lane 1) can be judged most unlikely to have been run in that lane, even if one does not know the exact lane in which they were achieved.


MEN’S 200
1* Coby Miller USA 20.04 1 Athletissima Lausanne 1-Jul-03
2 Jason Young JAM 19.86 1 Spitzen Lucerne 7-Jul-12
3 Michael Johnson USA 19.32 1 Olympic Games Atlanta 1-Aug-96
4 Yohan Blake JAM 19.44 2 Olympic Games London 9-Aug-12
5 Usain Bolt JAM 19.19 1 World Champs Berlin 20-Aug-09
6 Walter Dix USA 19.53 2 Van Damme Brussels 16-Sep-11
7 Yohan Blake JAM 19.26 1 Van Damme Brussels 16-Sep-11
8 Xavier Carter USA 19.63 1 Athletissima Lausanne 11-Jul-06
9 Wallace Spearmon USA 19.87 1 World Cup Athens 17-Sep-06
Alonso Edward PAN 19.87 4 World Champs Beijing 27-Aug-15
* Usain Bolt ran from lane 1 in the 2005 World Championship final (Helsinki 1 August). At 150 meters he was in medal position and gaining on eventual winner Justin Gatlin (20.04) but slowed to a jog due to injury.


MEN’S 400
1 Karabo Sibanda BOT 44.25 5 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 14-Aug-16
2 Larry James USA 43.97(A) 2 Olympic Games Mexico City 18-Oct-68
(low altitude) Michael Johnson USA 44.17 1r1 Athletissima Lausanne 10-Jul-91
3 Jeremy Wariner USA 43.62 1r1 Golden Gala Rome 14-Jul-06
4 Butch Reynolds USA 43.29 1 Weltklasse Zürich 17-Aug-88
5 Michael Johnson USA 43.18 1 World Champs Seville 26-Aug-99
6 Jeremy Wariner USA 43.45 1 World Champs Osaka 31-Aug-07
7 Luguelín Santos DOM 44.11 4 World Champs Beijing 26-Aug-15
8 Wayde van Niekerk RSA 43.03 1 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 14-Aug-16
9 Isaac Makwala BOT 44.11 1s2 World Champs Beijing 26-Aug-15


1 Angelo Taylor USA 47.50 1 Olympic Games Sydney 27-Sep-00
2 Edwin Moses USA 47.45 1 AAU Westwood 11-Jun-77
3* Bershawn Jackson USA 47.32 1 USATF Des Moines 26-Jun-10
4 Kevin Young USA 46.78 1 Olympic Games Barcelona 6-Aug-92
5 Abderrahmane Samba QAT 46.98 1 Meeting de Paris Paris 30-Jun-18
Rai Benjamin USA 46.98 2 Weltklasse Zürich 29-Aug-19
6 Edwin Moses USA 47.13 1 Lanzi Milan 3-Jul-80
7 Karsten Warholm NOR 46.92 1 Weltklasse Zürich 29-Aug-19
8 Edwin Moses USA 47.58 1sf1 USFOT Los Angeles 17-Jun-84
9 Edwin Moses USA 47.37 1 World Cup Rome 4-Sep-81
* Bryan Bronson ran 47.03 from lane 3 at the 1998 USATF final (New Orleans, June 11), but shortly thereafter had a major doping positive and T&FN doesn’t recognize any of his marks from that calendar year.


MEN’S 4 x 100
1 Great Britain GBR 37.98 5 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 19-Aug-16
(Kilty, Aikines-Aryeety, Ellington, Gemili)
2 Canada CAN 37.89 3h1 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 18-Aug-16
(Haynes, Brown, Rodney, Ajomale)
3 USA USA 37.48 1 World Champs Stuttgart 22-Aug-93
(Drummond, Cason, Mitchell, Burrell)
4 Jamaica JAM 37.27 1 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 19-Aug-16
(Powell, Blake, Ashmeade, Bolt)
5 Jamaica JAM 37.36 1 World Champs Moscow 18-Aug-13
(Carter, Frater, Bolt, Powell)
6 Jamaica JAM 36.84 1 Olympic Games London 11-Aug-12
(Carter, Frater, Blake, Bolt)
7 Jamaica JAM 37.31 1 World Champs Berlin 22-Aug-09
(Mullings, Frater, Bolt, Powell)
8 Canada CAN 37.86 1 World Champs Athens 10-Aug-97
(Esmie, Gilbert, Surin, Bailey)
9 China CHN 38.01 2 World Champs Beijing 29-Aug-15
(Mo, Xie, Su, Zhang)


1 Marita Koch GDR 21.90 1 World Cup Canberra 6-Oct-85
2 Marita Koch GDR 21.71 1 v Canada Karl-Marx-Stadt 1-Jun-79
3 Heike Drechsler GDR 21.71 1 GDR Ch Jena 29-Jun-86
4 Merlene Ottey JAM 21.64 1 Van Damme Brussels 13-Sep-91
5 Florence Griffith-Joyner USA 21.34 1 Olympic Games Seoul 29-Sep-88
6 Dafne Schippers NED 21.63 1 World Champs Beijing 28-Aug-15
7 Tori Bowie USA 21.77 1 Pre Classic Eugene 27-May-17
8 Evelyn Ashford USA 21.83 1 World Cup Montreal 24-Aug-79
9 Marion Jones USA 21.62(A) 1 World Cup Johannesburg 11-Sep-98


1 Olga Vladykina UKR 48.27 2 World Cup Canberra 6-Oct-85
2 Marita Koch GDR 47.60 1 World Cup Canberra 6-Oct-85
3 Jarmila Kratochvílová CZE 47.99 1 World Champs Helsinki 10-Aug-83
4 Cathy Freeman AUS 48.63 2 Olympic Games Atlanta 29-Jul-96
5 Valerie Brisco USA 48.83 1 Olympic Games Los Angeles 6-Aug-84
5 Marie-José Pérec FRA 48.83 1 Olympic Games Barcelona 5-Aug-92
6 Jarmila Kratochvílová CZE 48.61 1 World Cup Rome 6-Sep-81
7 Sanya Richards-Ross USA 48.70 1 World Cup Athens 16-Jun-06
8 Marita Koch GDR 48.60 1 Euro Cup Turin 4-Aug-79
9 Ana Guevara MEX 50.16 4 World Champs Osaka 29-Aug-07


1 Yulia Pechonkina RUS 53.38 1 Euro Cup Annecy 22-Jun-02
2 Yulia Pechonkina RUS 53.57 1h1 Olympic Games Athens 21-Aug-04
3 Lashinda Demus USA 52.47 1 World Champs Daegu 1-Sep-11
4 Dalilah Muhammad USA 52.20 1 USATF Champs Des Moines 28-Jul-19
5 Kim Batten USA 52.61 1 World Champs Goteborg 11-Aug-95
6 Melaine Walker JAM 52.64 1 Olympic Games Beijing 20-Aug-08
7 Lashinda Demus USA 52.77 2 Olympic Games London 8-Aug-12
8 Melaine Walker JAM 52.73 2 World Champs Daegu 1-Sep-11
9 Kaliese Spencer JAM 53.66 4 Olympic Games London 8-Aug-12


WOMEN’S 4 x 100
1 USA USA 41.01 1 Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 19-Aug-16
(Bartoletta, Felix, Gardner, Bowie)
2 USA USA 41.64 1h1 Olympic Games London 9-Aug-12
(Bartoletta, Tarmoh, Knight, Williams)
3 USA USA 41.49 2 World Champs Stuttgart 22-Aug-93
(Burrell, Torrence, Vereen, Devers)
4 Russia RUS 41.49 1 World Champs Stuttgart 22-Aug-93
(Bogoslovskaya, Malchugina, Voronova, Privalova)
5 East Germany GDR 41.37 1 World Cup Canberra 6-Oct-85
(Möller, Günther, Auerswald, Göhr)
6 Jamaica JAM 41.29 1 World Champs Moscow 18-Aug-13
(Russell, Stewart, Calvert, Fraser-Pryce)
7 USA USA 40.82 1 Olympic Games London 10-Aug-12
(Bartoletta, Felix, Knight, Jeter)
8 East Germany GDR 41.60 1 Olympic Games Moscow 1-Aug-80
(Müller, Wöckel, Auerswald, Göhr)
9 East Germany GDR 42.21 1 World Cup Barcelona 10-Sep-89
(Möller, Behrendt, Oschkenat, Günther)


A compilation of this sort would not be possible without a great deal of help from around the world. Richard Hymans provided a great deal of early assistance and encouragement and Andreas Brügger, the director emeritus of the Weltklasse in Zürich took time out of a very busy schedule to fill in the many holes that only a meeting of the Weltklasse’s consistent quality could create.

Jonas Lindström of Sweden provided excellent assistance for periods from 1999 to 2003. Bob Hersh encouraged the most recent updates and provided many useful research suggestions. Yoshi Oikawa of Japan provided valuable additions and amendments with respect to marks from lane 9 and the last two Olympics..

Thank you also to YouTube!

Bert Nelson, my long-departed friend, provided the inspiration for this work.

I acknowledge, with thanks, the help of the following:

Federations and Institutions: International Amateur Athletic Federation; USA Track and Field; Czech Athletic Federation; Amateur Athletic Federation of India; Athletics South Africa; Real Federation Espanolo Athletico; National Collegiate Athletic Association; Pacific 10 Athletic Conference; University of California Los Angeles; University of Houston; University of Indiana; Rice University; Mt. San Antonio College.

Athletics Meetings: Athletissima; BNP; Ciudad de Barcelona; Mt. SAC Relays; New York Games; Nikaia; Sestriere; Seville; Weltklasse in Zürich.

Individuals: Francesco Ascorbe; Albert Baronet; Hal Bateman; Naomi Beinart; Bill Bennett; Robert Bertojo; Lalit Bhanot; Jose Luis de Carlos; Scott Davis; Jacky Delapierre; Joe DeLoach; Dean Diltz; Joe Douglas; Tony Dupont; Jerry Fuqua; Sandro Giovanelli; Ed Gordon; Marshall Goss; Danny Harris; Roberto Hernandez; Garry Hill; Ian Hodge; Art Hoffman; Paul Houde, Dave Johnson; Michael Johnson; Tom Jordan; Carl Lewis; Gert le Roux; Harley Lewis; Francesco Liello; Mike Marsh; Walter Murphy; Flavio Musso; Petri Niininen; Merlene Ottey; Shawn Price; Don Quarrie; Roberto Quercetani; Felix Sanchez, Mark Sanders; Dan Shrum; Peter Siegel; John Smith; Allan Steinfeld; Mike Takaha; Libor Varhanik.

Copyright (c) 1984-2019 Jed W. Brickner

Amendments should be sent to