Running in the Olympics – Part 1

The Olympic Games motto, Citius, Altius, Fortius meaning Faster, Higher, Stronger depicts exactly the qualities needed to achieve gold at the most prestigious sporting event in the world. But no discipline defines the Olympic Games more than the running events.

The events on the track captivate the audiences in the vast arenas that go to watch the games every four years. Be it sprint, middle-distance, steeplechase or marathon, all these fantastic running events bring the crowd into a hysteria to cheer on the winner. And in this blog we will explore the different running events that you can find in modern Olympic Games.

Long Distance Running

Any race that is over 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) is classified as a long-distance race. The Olympic events that fall into this bracket are:

  • Marathon
  • 10,000 meters
  • 5,000 meters

These long distance races are all about endurance and the important tactics that have to be employed to come out victorious. There is a famous saying that states that you cannot possibly win an Olympic distance race in the very first mile, but it is possible to lose in that distance. What this means is that athletes that burn away like sprinters in the first mile will suffer in the later stages, so you should plan your race as a runner. The real kings of long distance running know exactly when they should accelerate and pick up the pace. If you make your move too early you could risk running out of steam, too late and you may not be able to catch the leaders. The country to have taken the most gold medals in the five thousand meters is Finland with nine, with Ethiopia coming second with three.

10,000 Meters

In the ten thousand meters in the modern Olympic Games, the event has been dominated by the Ethiopians. With the legendary Haile Gebrselassie taking gold in 1996 and 2000, and leading the way for his fellow countrymen Kenenisa Bekele to follow his example in the games of 2004 and 2008. Two other Ethiopians also won double gold at this event, Derartu Tulu and Tirunesh Dibaba. Kenya have also a terrific record in Olympic ten thousand meters running and their athletes have been on the podium seven times but they have only ever actually won gold once, and that was in 1968 with Naftali Temu.


Running a marathon is one of the ultimate tests in Olympic history, and it was this event at Marathon the Olympic Games was actually named after. Only a very special athlete indeed can take on this challenge and eventually take the gold. The distance of just over twenty-six miles is a challenge that only a few athletes can compete seriously to win. Once again Ethiopia has a fantastic record in this long-distance event.

In the Men’s Olympic Marathon event Ethiopia has taken seven podium places with an amazing four of them being gold. The Ethiopian women have also done well in the Marathon winning it twice. On the second lap to learn about Olympic Games running we look at middle distance running.