BBC Sport athletics

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Tuesday, 4 May 2010 11:56 UK

British athletes' record wait

Kath Cook and Chris Thompson
As Cook passes 50, two of her records still stand but Thompson has his sights on a new record

Mark Butler
By Mark Butler
BBC Sport's athletics statistician

Britain's most successful woman athlete, Kathy Cook, celebrates her 50th birthday this week and her British records have been standing longer than she has.

Kathy's marks at 200m and 400m were set in August 1984 and so are each 25 going on 26.

I have suggested that Kathy should be given a special award for her unique feat of having such longstanding records in two championship events.

Moths will be flying from our all-time men's long distance lists - only three men have troubled the UK top 10s since the 1990s

The counter argument is that we shouldn't celebrate stagnation in our records, and a look at the list of British records shows more old than new.

I would argue that many of the records, such as Kathy's 22.10 and 49.43, are high-quality marks which would win big medals in the 21st Century.

On the other hand it is depressing that so many of the British record-holders, in particular those who hold marks on the track, are long retired.

That is why it was so exciting to see Chris Thompson's breakthrough at 10,000m in California last weekend. His time of 27 minutes 29.61 seconds makes him the third-fastest British man ever.

At last Jon Brown's 1998 British record has come within range. Moths will be flying from our all-time men's long distance lists because, apart from Thompson, only Mo Farah and Mark Steinle have troubled the UK top 10s since the 1990s.

Greg Rutherford

Replay - Rutherford leaps to record

What other British records might be under threat this year? Certainly Jessica Ennis has three in her sights, the 100m hurdles, high jump and pentathlon.

Kate Dennison looks set to continue her progress at pole vault, while the long-jump rivalry of Greg Rutherford and Chris Tomlinson may take them beyond the most recent record of Rutherford's, a mark of 8.30m set during the heats of last year's World Championships in Berlin.

Those two, incidentally, were the only men to set legitimate British records outdoors in the 'noughties'.

We have not seen a British men's record on the track since the sprint relay squad at the 1999 World Championships.


Safe for the time being on the record books - I feel - are Ashia Hansen's 15.16m triple jump, Mark Rowland's 8:07.96 steeplechase and Steve Backley's 91.46m javelin throw.

But now is the time of the year when we see who, like Thompson, has wintered well. Hopefully the following list will get a bit younger in 2010.

Current ratified British records at Olympic events in date order:

Men's Shot Put 21.68m, Geoff Capes, Cwmbran, 18-5-1980

Women's 4x100 Metres Relay 42.43m, Great Britain & NI, Moscow, 1-8-1980

Women's Discus Throw 67.48m, Meg Ritchie, Walnut, 26-4-1981

Men's 800 Metres 1:41.73, Sebastian Coe, Florence, 10-6-1981

Women's High Jump 1.95m, Diana Elliott, Oslo, 26-6-1982

Men's 5000 Metres 13:00.41, David Moorcroft, Oslo, 7-7-1982

Women's Long Jump 6.90m, Beverly Kinch, Helsinki, 14-8-1983

Men's Hammer Throw 77.54m, Martin Girvan, Wolverhampton, 12-5-1984

Women's 400 Metres 49.43m, Kathy Cook, Los Angeles, 6-8-1984

Women's 200 Metres 22.10m, Kathy Cook, Los Angeles, 9-8-1984

Men's Decathlon 8847 pts, Daley Thompson, Los Angeles, 9-8-1984

Men's 1500 Metres 3:29.67, Steve Cram, Nice, 16-7-1985

Men's Marathon 2:07:13, Steve Jones, Chicago, 20-10-1985

Women's Shot Put 19.36m, Judy Oakes, Gateshead, 14-8-1988

Men's 20 Kilometres Walk 1:22:03, Ian McCombie, Seoul, 23-9-1988

Men's 3000m Steeplechase 8:07.96, Mark Rowland, Seoul, 30-9-1988

Men's 50 Kilometres Walk 3:51:37, Chris Maddocks, Plymouth, 28-10-1990

Men's Javelin Throw 91.46m, Steve Backley, North Shore City, 25-1-1992

Men's 400 Metres Hurdles 47.82, Kriss Akabusi, Barcelona, 6-8-1992

Men's High Jump 2.37m, Steve Smith, Seoul, 20-9-1992

Men's 100 Metres 9.87, Linford Christie, Stuttgart, 15-8-1993

Women's 400 Metres Hurdles 52.74, Sally Gunnell, Stuttgart, 19-8-1993

Men's 110 Metres Hurdles 12.91, Colin Jackson, Stuttgart, 20-8-1993

Men's 200 Metres 19.94, John Regis, Stuttgart, 20-8-1993

Men's High Jump 2.37m, Steve Smith, Stuttgart, 22-8-1993

Men's Triple Jump 18.29m, Jonathan Edwards, Gothenburg, 7-8-1995

Women's 800 Metres 1:56.21, Kelly Holmes, Monaco, 9-9-1995

Women's 100 Metres Hurdles 12.80, Angie Thorp, Atlanta, 31-7-1996

Men's 4x400 Metres Relay 2:56.60, Great Britain & NI, Atlanta, 3-8-1996

Men's 400 Metres 44.36, Iwan Thomas, Birmingham, 13-7-1997

Women's Triple Jump 15.15m, Ashia Hansen, Fukuoka, 13-9-1997

Men's Pole Vault 5.80m, Nick Buckfield, Hania, 27-5-1998

Men's Discus Throw 66.64m, Perris Wilkins, Birmingham, 6-6-1998

Men's 10,000 Metres 27:18.14, Jon Brown, Brussels, 28-8-1998

Men's 4x100 Metres Relay 37.73, Great Britain & NI, Seville, 29-8-1999

Women's Heptathlon 6831 pts, Denise Lewis, Talence, 30-7-2000

Women's High Jump 1.95m, Susan Jones, Bremen, 24-6-2001

Women's 10,000 Metres 30:01.09, Paula Radcliffe, Munich, 6-8-2002

Women's Marathon 2:15:25, Paula Radcliffe, London, 13-4-2003

Women's Hammer Throw 68.93m, Lorraine Shaw, Loughborough, 8-6-2003

Women's 5000 Metres 14:29.11, Paula Radcliffe, Bydgoszcz, 20-6-2004

Women's 1500 Metres 3:57.90, Kelly Holmes, Athens, 28-8-2004

Women's High Jump 1.95m, Jessica Ennis, Desenzano, 5-5-2007

Women's 4x400 Metres Relay 3:20.04, Great Britain & NI, Osaka, 2-9-2007

Women's 100 Metres 11.05, Montell Douglas, Loughborough, 17-7-2008

Women's 3000m Steeplechase 9:29.14, Helen Clitheroe, Beijing, 15-8-2008

Women's Javelin Throw 65.75m, Goldie Sayers, Beijing , 21-8-2008

Women's 20 Kilometres Walk 1:31:16, Johanna Jackson, Lugano, 8-3-2009

Men's Long Jump 8.30m, Greg Rutherford, Berlin, 20-8-2009

Women's Pole Vault 4.60m, Kate Dennison , Szczecin, 15-9-2009

(Note that John Regis's 19.87 200m and Carl Myerscough's 21.92 Shot Put were never ratified)

see also
Europe's cross-country woes
02 Apr 10 |  Athletics
Kenya control World Cross Country
28 Mar 10 |  Athletics
Britain's most successful athletes
18 Mar 10 |  Athletics
When Boxer set the standard
04 Aug 09 |  Athletics
Richards set for 400m landmark
09 Jul 09 |  Athletics
Medals, money or both?
12 Jun 09 |  Athletics
GB women show Berlin credentials
03 Jun 09 |  Athletics
When is a record not a record?
19 Feb 09 |  Athletics

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2017 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.