The middle distance races are athletic events that are based on running a distance that can go from 800 meters to 3,000 meters smooth. These are halfway between speed racing and background racing and combine both speed and endurance.

As I mentioned in the introduction, this type of athletic discipline is formed by the 800 meters smooth tests, very common in the Heptathlon, the 1,500 meters of the male Decathlon, the mile, and the 3,000 meters, at least among the most common.

Despite the different distances, only the 800 and 1500 meters are part of the official calendar of the Olympic Games.

Let’s see what these tests consist of and what their characteristics are.

What are the medium-based tests in athletics

The 800 meter races

It is the initial test of the mediofondo races and consists of two laps on the track. The exit is made on foot and with the body slightly flexed, with one of the legs forward and the opposite arm pointing towards that leg.

The competitors start in a staggered way, to compensate the curve, the starting line is normally 5 cms. of width and of white color with green, it is not the same of the 400 meters since this one is totally white.

The riders will run in the lanes until the first lap and they will go to lane one on the line marked after the first lap.


  • For the men’s group, the record was marked on August 9, 2012, by David Rudisha, with a time of 1: 40.91.
  • While in the women’s group, the record belongs to the Czech Jarmila Kratochvílová with a time of 1: 53.28, the record reached on July 26, 1983.

The Carreras of 1500 meters

The 1500 meters smooth, is the test star of the middle bottom of the current athletics.

Until the 80s it was dominated by European runners but since then it is practically an exclusive competence of the African athletes in the masculine modality and of the Chinese athletes in the feminine modality.

This test is very intense and where race strategies are already used, above all, because some type of contact between the runners is frequent for competing for a better career position.

From this distance these tests are characterized because there are no streets to run by default; Instead, the runners have to “confront” to position themselves as best as possible on 1st Street and defend that position.

When leaving from the start of the counter-straight, you have to travel 300 meters to the finish line and, from there, only have to make 3 laps to the track.

Olympic record in 1500 meters Llanos

  • The Olympic record in 1500 meters belongs to Hicham El Guerrouj, with a time of 3: 26.00, the record reached on July 14, 1998.
  • While the women’s record in 1500 meters is Yunxia Qu with a time of 3: 50.46, mark obtained on September 11, 1993.

The mile

It is a test not very common in Latin countries, being more popular in some areas of Europe.

There are athletes who perform this test below 4 minutes, a time that many aims and try to break but very few achieve.

Races of 3000 meters

This is an athletic test but not an Olympic test, although in some previous Olympics it has been done only by women. Where once they made half a full lap, they had to do 7 more laps to complete the distance.

Like the 1500 test, the race does not take place on the streets, and the athletes, once given a start signal, will be progressively incorporated into the 1st and 2nd streets.

Related Articles