Athletics distances - why such a big jump?

Why such a huge jump (20 miles!) from 10,000m to Marathon in official athletics competitions? It seems bizarre. Why no 10 mile or half marathon races. 10k is barely long distance.


  • History, timetabling, logistics, number of unique entrants, spectator interest... There are global championships over other distances, just not in major championships.

  • PhilPubPhilPub ✭✭✭

    I would've thought it's also something to do with the fact that they're long distance events which (a) have very similar physiological demands and (b) take a long time to recover from.  So for example, in the Olympics there wouldn't be much point in having a half marathon, because the world's best half marathoners will also likely be the either the world's best 10,000m runners or marathoners (or both).  I know Zatopek managed the crazy feat of winning gold in the 5,000m, 10,000m and marathon in one Olympics but realistically in the modern era, I reckon doubling up in the 5 & 10 would be most people's limit.

  • Good points, which I hadn't considered. I still think it's a shame. There must be athletes who would prefer to compete at distances between 10k and Marathon.


  • An ultra distance event would be good didnt they have the 100k in the Commonwealth games?

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