World Records For Lanes

compiled by Jed Brickner

(as of July 10, 2018)

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 Athl Lausanne 1-Jul-03
2 Jason Young JAM 19.86 1 Inv Lucerne 7-Jul-12
3 Michael Johnson USA 19.32 1 OG Atlanta 1-Aug-96
4 Yohan Blake JAM 19.44 2 OG London 9-Aug-12
5 Usain Bolt JAM 19.19 1 WCh Berlin 20-Aug-09
6 Walter Dix USA 19.53 2 VDamme Brussels 16-Sep-11
7 Yohan Blake JAM 19.26 1 VDamme Brussels 16-Sep-11
8 Xavier Carter USA 19.63 1 Athl Lausanne 11-Jul-06
9 Wallace Spearmon USA 19.87 1 WCup Athens 17-Sep-06
9 Alonso Edward PAN 19.87 4 WCh 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 OG Rio de Janeiro 14-Aug-16
2 Larry James USA 43.97(A) 2 OG Mexico City 18-Oct-68
(low altitude) Michael Johnson USA 44.17 1r1 Athl Lausanne 10-Jul-91
3 Jeremy Wariner USA 43.62 1r1 GG Rome 14-Jul-06
4 Butch Reynolds USA 43.29 1 WkZ Zurich 17-Aug-88
5 Michael Johnson USA 43.18 1 WCh Seville 26-Aug-99
6 Jeremy Wariner USA 43.45 1 WCh Osaka 31-Aug-07
7 Luguelín Santos DOM 44.11 4 WCh Beijing 26-Aug-15
8 Wayde van Niekerk RSA 43.03 1 OG Rio de Janeiro 14-Aug-16
9 Isaac Makwala BOT 44.11 1s2 WCh Beijing 26-Aug-15


1 Angelo Taylor USA 47.50 1 OG 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 OG Barcelona 6-Aug-92
5 Abderrahmane Samba QAT 46.98 1 Meeting de Paris Paris 30-Jun-18
6 Edwin Moses USA 47.13 1 Lanzi Milan 3-Jul-80
7 Kerron Clement USA 47.24 1 USATF Carson 26-Jun-05
8 Edwin Moses USA 47.58 1sf1 USFOT Los Angeles 17-Jun-84
9 Edwin Moses USA 47.37 1 WCup 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 OG Rio de Janeiro 19-Aug-16
(Kilty, Aikines-Aryeety, Ellington, Gemili)
2 Canada CAN 37.89 3h1 OG Rio de Janeiro 18-Aug-16
(Haynes, Brown, Rodney, Ajomale)
3 USA USA 37.48 1 WCh Stuttgart 22-Aug-93
(Drummond, Cason, Mitchell, Burrell)
4 Jamaica JAM 37.27 1 OG Rio de Janeiro 19-Aug-16
(Powell, Blake, Ashmeade, Bolt)
5 Jamaica JAM 37.10 1 OG Beijing 22-Aug-08
(Carter, Frater, Bolt, Powell)
6 Jamaica JAM 36.84 1 OG London 11-Aug-12
(Carter, Frater, Blake, Bolt)
7 Jamaica JAM 37.31 1 WCh Berlin 22-Aug-09
(Mullings, Frater, Bolt, Powell)
8 Canada CAN 37.86 1 WCh Athens 10-Aug-97
(Esmie, Gilbert, Surin, Bailey)
9 China CHN 38.01 2 WCh Beijing 29-Aug-15
(Mo, Xie, Su, Zhang)


1 Marita Koch GDR 21.90 1 WCup Canberra 6-Oct-85
2 Marita Koch GDR 21.71 1 v Can 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 VDamme Brussels 13-Sep-91
5 Florence Griffith-Joyner USA 21.34 1 OG Seoul 29-Sep-88
6 Dafne Schippers NED 21.63 1 WCh Beijing 28-Aug-15
7 Tori Bowie USA 21.77 1 Pre Eugene 27-May-17
8 Evelyn Ashford USA 21.83 1 WCup Montreal 24-Aug-79
9 Marion Jones USA 21.62(A) 1 WCup Johannesburg 11-Sep-98


1 Olga Vladykina UKR 48.27 2 WCup Canberra 6-Oct-85
2 Marita Koch GDR 47.60 1 WCup Canberra 6-Oct-85
3 Jarmila Kratochvílová CZE 47.99 1 WCh Helsinki 10-Aug-83
4 Cathy Freeman AUS 48.63 2 OG Atlanta 29-Jul-96
5 Valerie Brisco USA 48.83 1 OG Los Angeles 6-Aug-84
5 Marie-José Pérec FRA 48.83 1 OG Barcelona 5-Aug-92
6 Jarmila Kratochvílová CZE 48.61 1 WCup Rome 6-Sep-81
7 Sanya Richards-Ross USA 48.70 1 WCup Athens 16-Jun-06
8 Marita Koch GDR 48.60 1 ECup Turin 4-Aug-79


1 Yulia Pechonkina RUS 53.38 1 ECup Annecy 22-Jun-02
2 Yulia Pechonkina RUS 53.57 1h1 OG Athens 21-Aug-04
3 Lashinda Demus USA 52.47 1 WCh Daegu 1-Sep-11
4 Yulia Pechonkina RUS 52.34 1 RusCh Tula 8-Aug-03
5 Kim Batten USA 52.61 1 WCh Goteborg 11-Aug-95
6 Melaine Walker JAM 52.64 1 OG Beijing 20-Aug-08
7 Lashinda Demus USA 52.77 2 OG London 8-Aug-12
8 Melaine Walker JAM 52.73 2 WCh Daegu 1-Sep-11
9 Kaliese Spencer JAM 53.66 4 OG London 8-Aug-12


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


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, John Smith; Allan Steinfeld; Mike Takaha; Libor Varhanik; Peter Siegel.

Copyright (c) 1984-2018 Jed W. Brickner

Amendments should be sent to