No announcement yet.

World Class 5k Runner - Who Is? Who Isn't?


Unconfigured Ad Widget

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • World Class 5k Runner - Who Is? Who Isn't?

    Every now and then I read threads on this and other message boards that debate the issue of who is/was/will be a world class 5,000 meter runner. Undoubtably you can make an argument for a lot of guys who fit the bill, but I wanted to see if I could figure out a way to look at performances over time and draw some conclusions as to who is a world class 5k (track) runner.

    With that in mind I used 13:15 as a cut off point as the top end (slowest) time that qualifies as "world class". From there I wanted to see who bettered that barrier over time and how many times they did it. In particular, I wanted to see how Kenenisa Bekele stacks up to guys who have gone before him. Using KB's 8 best 5k times (on the track) I calculated his average time for those 8 performances and then did the same for every other runner who broke 13:15 at least 8 times in their career. I was a little surprised at some of the results.

    Here's the list I came up with:

    Rank, Athlete, Nationality, Top 8 Times Avg

    1 Haile Gebrselassie ETH 12:48.64
    2 Daniel Komen KEN 12:49.08
    3 Salah Hissou MAR 12:53.90
    4 Sammy Kipketer KEN 12:56.52
    5 Paul Tergat KEN 12:56.79
    6 Benjamin Limo KEN 12:57.03
    7 Abraham Chebii KEN 12:58.69
    8 Eliud Kipchoge KEN 12:58.87
    9 Brahim Lahlafi MAR 12:59.19
    10 Thomas Nyariki KEN 12:59.35
    11 John Kibowen KEN 12:59.79
    12 Mohammed Mourhit BEL 13:00.38
    13 Khalid Boulami MAR 13:00.41
    14 Paul Koech KEN 13:00.43
    15 Luke Kipkosgei KEN 13:00.45
    16 Kenenisa Bekele ETH 13:00.94
    17 Assefa Mezgebu ETH 13:01.59
    18 Bob Kennedy USA 13:02.70
    19 Ismaïl Sghyr MAR 13:02.99
    20 Paul Bitok KEN 13:03.10
    21 Abderrahim Goumri MAR 13:03.28
    22 Dieter Baumann GER 13:03.39
    23 Said Aouita MAR 13:04.18
    24 Benjamin Maiyo KEN 13:04.23
    25 Moses Kiptanui KEN 13:04.40
    26 Million Wolde ETH 13:04.57
    27 Gebre-egziabher Gebremariam ETH 13:05.04
    28 Khalid Skah MAR 13:05.28
    29 Mark Bett KEN 13:05.84
    30 Albert Chepkurui KEN 13:05.85
    31 Ismael Kirui KEN 13:06.04
    32 Yobes Ondieki KEN 13:06.30
    33 Abiyote Abate ETH 13:06.32
    34 James Kwalia KEN 13:06.36
    35 Alberto García ESP 13:07.16
    36 Shem Kororia KEN 13:08.36
    37 Worku Bikila ETH 13:08.44
    38 Philip Mosima KEN 13:09.10
    39 Fita Bayissa ETH 13:09.35

    There are some notable names missing from this list because they have not met the minimum of 8 times under 13:15. (ex. Craig Mottram & Hicham El G to name just a couple). By requiring a minimum of 8 races under 13:15 I've eliminated a lot of "one hit runners" from the list.

    I know that there are numerous ways to rank the best of all time, but for me sustained excellence is a critical factor to look at when talking about who's "the best". For me, the clock is the ultimate measure of a runner's success, not medals won or lost. I think this list makes a strong argument for who stands at the top of the 5k mountain as of today.

    Guys like Ritz, Rupp, etc. have a long way to go in order to be considered world class 5k guys. They have potential, but they need to earn their respect like the guys above have. Years from now they could very well be on this list, but until they string together a bunch of great times they are not in the same league as these guys (yet).

  • #2
    Re: World Class 5k Runner - Who Is? Who Isn't?

    Great list! I guess I have to step up my opinion of Bob Kennedy with that impressive average. The only thing I differ about is Honors Won ,pure speed is one judge but the idea of racing another person to the line is important to me also. The head game,varied paces,when to surge,kick or draft make up the fabric of the distance runs while the stop watch sets just the color.
    Tom Hyland:
    "squack and wineturtle get it"


    • #3
      Re: World Class 5k Runner - Who Is? Who Isn't?

      great list! i dont think theres anything wrong with perfering time or medals as long as its more of a 60-40 rather than 90-10 split. ron clarke was a great, great runner but "only" got a bronze oly. medal. i cant remember his name but there was a 10,000 guy from portagal who had the world record and totally choked in every big race he ran. fernando maymed? sp?


      • #4
        Re: World Class 5k Runner - Who Is? Who Isn't?

        SQUAKEE -

        I just posted a similar list for the 10k as another thread on this board. The guy you are thinking of is Fernando Mamede from Portugal. I agree with your assessment of him.

        I'm not excluding the medals won/lost when I think of world class runners, it's just that I'm a bit more impressed with athletes that can perform at a very high level for an extended period of time. Along those lines, I absolutely think that guys like Yifter and Viren were extremely talented competitors, but when I look at the sustained excellence critieria they slip down a bit on my "all time great" runners list.

        Putting that aside, I love watching slower, more tactical races that encompass more than just hammering the hell out of the field. It's all good!


        • #5
          Re: World Class 5k Runner - Who Is? Who Isn't?

          How about integrating the two lists and combining 2 x 5K + 10 K with 6 5Ks and 4 10Ks utilized. This is how some speed skating competitions are determined (several variants).