It’s always fun to look at the fastest running times for specific distances and drop your jaw in awe at the blazing performances. Today, we will look at the fastest time for a 10k.
What is the fastest 10k time ever? What is the fastest 10k time high school runners have achieved, and what is the world record 10k time for women and men?
In this article, we will discuss the fastest time for a 10k, the progression of the world record 10k times for men and women, the fastest 10k time high school runners have achieved, and the average 10k times for everyday runners.
We will cover:
- What Is The Fastest 10k Time Ever?
- The 10k World Record Progression
- What Is the Fastest 10k High School Time?
Let’s dive in!
What Is The Fastest 10k Time Ever?
So, what is the fastest 10k time ever? For that stat, we have to look at the 10,000-meter world records.
According to World Athletics, the official 10,000-meter world record for men on the track is a time of 26:11.00, a record held by Ugandan runner Joshua Cheptegei and set on October 7, 2020, at Estadio de Atletismo del Turia in Valencia, Spain.
This means that the fastest 10 km time works out to an average pace of 4:13 per mile or 2:37 per kilometer.
According to World Athletics, the official women’s 10,000-meter world record on the track is a time of 29:01.03. This world record 10,000-meter performance is held by Ethiopian runner Letesenbet Gidey and was set on June 8, 2021, at Blankers-Koen Stadion, in Hengelo, Netherlands.
Therefore, Gidey ran an average pace of 4:41 per mile en route to her 10k world record.
According to Athletics Weekly, the fastest 10k time on the road is 26:24. This 10k world record is held by Kenyan runner Rhonex Kipruto and was set on January 12, 2020.
In terms of the pace, this fastest 10 km time works out to just about 4:15 per mile (or 2:38 per kilometer).
According to Athletics Weekly, the fastest 10k time for women on the road is 29:14. This women’s 10k world record is held by Ethiopian runner Yalemzerf Yehualaw and was set on February 27, 2022.
Yehualaw‘s fastest 10 km time workouts out to 4:47 per mile or 2:58 per kilometer.
The fastest 10k run performances were not officially recognized as world records by the IAAF until August 2003, when the IAAF Congress decided to approve world record status for several long-distance road distances, including the 10 km.
Prior to this time, rather than being considered “10 km world records,” the fastest 10k race times were considered “world bests 10 km” times.
When looking at the fastest 10 km performances for both men and women, it is quite evident that the 10 km world records and prior 10 km world bests have been dominated by runners of East African descent.
Indeed, the 10 km distance has been dominated by runners from East Africa since the 1990s.
When looking specifically at the fastest 10 km times, all 10 of the official 10k men’s world records have been set by east African runners, five of whom are Kenyan.
On the women’s side, nine of the fastest 10 km performances for women were also achieved by runners from East African nations.
The 10k World Record Progression
The first 10,000-meter world record ratified by the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) was in 1912 and was reflective of the 30:58.8 performance by French runner Jean Bouin from the prior year.
There have been 38 official 10k world records ratified by the IAAF.
|30:58.8||Jean Bouin||France||November 16, 1911||Paris, France|
|30:40.2||Paavo Nurmi||Finland||June 22, 1921||Stockholm, Sweden|
|30:35.4||Ville Ritola||Finland||May 25, 1924||Helsinki, Finland|
|30:23.2||Ville Ritola||Finland||July 6, 1924||Paris, France|
|30:06.2||Paavo Nurmi||Finland||August 31, 1924||Kuopio, Finland|
|30:05.6||Ilmari Salminen||Finland||July 18, 1937||Kouvola, Finland|
|30:02.0||Taisto Mäki||Finland||September 29, 1938||Tampere, Finland|
|29:52.6||Taisto Mäki||Finland||September 17, 1939||Helsinki, Finland|
|29:35.4||Viljo Heino||Finland||August 25, 1944||Helsinki, Finland|
|29:28.2||Emil Zátopek||Czech Republic||June 11, 1949||Ostrava, Czech Republic|
|29:27.2||Viljo Heino||Finland||September 1, 1949||Kouvola, Finland|
|29:21.2||Emil Zátopek||Czech Republic||October 22, 1949||Ostrava, Czech Republic|
|29:02.6||Emil Zátopek||Czech Republic||August 4, 1950||Turku, Finland|
|29:01.6||Emil Zátopek||Czech Republic||November 1, 1953||Stara Boleslav, Czech Republic|
|28:54.2||Emil Zátopek||Czech Republic||June 1, 1954||Brussels, Belgium|
|28:42.8||Sandor Iharos||Hungary||July 15, 1956||Budapest, Hungary|
|28:30.4||Vladimir Kuts||Russia||September 11, 1956||Moscow, Soviet Union|
|28:18.8||Pyotr Bolotnikov||Russia||October 15, 1960||Kiev, Soviet Union|
|28:18.2||Pyotr Bolotnikov||Russia||August 11, 1962||Moscow, Soviet Union|
|28:15.6||Ron Clarke||Austria||December 18, 1963||Melbourne, Australia|
|27:39.4||Ron Clarke||Austria||July 14, 1965||Oslo, Norway|
|27:38.4||Lasse Virén||Finland||September 3, 1972||Munich, Germany|
|27:30.8||David Bedford||Great Britain||July 13, 1973||London, United Kingdom|
|27:30.5||Samson Kimobwa||Kenya||June 30, 1977||Helsinki, Finland|
|27:22.4||Henry Rono||Kenya||June 11, 1978||Vienna, Austria|
|27:13.8||Fernando Mamede||Portugal||July 2, 1984||Stockholm, Sweden|
|27:08.2||Arturo Barrios||Mexico||August 18, 1989||Berlin, Germany|
|27:07.9||Richard Chelimo||Kenya||July 5, 1993||Stockholm, Sweden|
|26:58.4||Yobes Ondieki||Kenya||July 10, 1993||Oslo, Norway|
|26:52.2||William Sigei||Kenya||July 22, 1994||Oslo, Norway|
|26:43.5||Haile Gebrselassie||Ethiopia||June 5, 1995||Hengelo, Netherlands|
|26:38.1||Salah Hissou||Morocco||August 23, 1996||Brussels, Belgium|
|26:31.3||Haile Gebrselassie||Ethiopia||July 4, 1997||Oslo, Norway|
|26:27.9||Paul Tergat||Kenya||August 22, 1997||Brussels, Belgium|
|26:22.7||Haile Gebrselassie||Ethiopia||June 1, 1998||Hengelo, Netherlands|
|26:20.3||Kenenisa Bekele||Ethiopia||June 8, 2004||Ostrava, Czech Republic|
|26:17.5||Kenenisa Bekele||Ethiopia||August 26, 2005||Brussels, Belgium|
|26:11.0||Joshua Cheptegei||Uganda||October 7, 2020||Valencia, Spain|
There have been far fewer women’s 10k world record performances ratified by the IAAF than for men, as the first women’s 10,000-meter world record was not recognized by the IAAF until 1981.
Before the IAAF decided to accept the 10,000-meter run as a world record-eligible event for women in 1981, the 10,000-meter run was not a particularly common international track event for women.
It was occasionally contested at select track events, but the 10k on the track was not included in the World Championships and Olympic Games for women until 1987 and 1988, respectively.
Thus, prior to the IAAF recognizing the 10k world records for women in 1981, the primary long-distance track event that was world record eligible for women was the 3000-meter run.
There have been eleven 10k world records for women:
|32:17.2||Yelena Sipatova||Russia||October 19, 1981||Moscow, Soviet Union|
|31:35.3||Mary Decker-Slaney||United States||July 16, 1982||Eugene, USA|
|31:35.0||Lyudmila Baranova||Russia||May 29, 1983||Krasnodar, Soviet Union|
|31:27.6||Raisa Sadreydinova||Russia||September 7, 1983||Odessa, Soviet Union|
|31:13.8||Olga Bondarenko||Russia||June 24, 1984||Kiev, Soviet Union|
|30:59.4||Ingrid Kristiansen||Norway||July 27, 1985||Oslo, Norway|
|30:13.7||Ingrid Kristiansen||Norway||July 5, 1986||Oslo, Norway|
|29:31.8||Wang Junxia||China||September 8, 1993||Beijing, PR China|
|29:17.4||Almaz Ayana||Ethiopia||August 12, 2016||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|29:06.8||Sifan Hassan||Netherlands||June 6, 2021||Hengelo, Netherlands|
|29:01.0||Letesenbet Gidey||Ethiopia||June 8, 2021||Hengelo, Netherlands|
What Is the Fastest 10k High School Time?
The fastest 10k high school times come from 10,000-meter track races since this distance is not contested in cross country and it’s difficult to find 10k road race records.
On the boy’s side, the fastest 10k high school time on the track is 28:32.7, a record held by Rudy Chapa from Hammond High School in Hammond, Indiana.
This high school 10k record has stood since April 24, 1976, and was set in Des Moines, Iowa.
In races that were run by only high schoolers, the fastest 10,000-meter time for high school boys is 30:30.2.
This fastest high school 10k time is held by Jack Cuvo from Easton, Pennsylvania, and was set in Annandale, New Jersey, on July 12, 1985.
On the girl’s side, the fastest 10k high school time on the track is 32:52.5, a record held by Mary Shea from Gibbons High School in Raleigh, North Carolina.
This high school 10k record has stood since June 15, 1979, and was set at the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Walnut, California.
What’s your 10k PR? Want to get faster? Try a 10k training plan here.