5000 Metres

How it works

Runners compete over 12-and-a-half laps of a 400m track. They make bunched standing starts and can break immediately for the inside.


The Ancient Greeks organised a number of events akin to today’s long-distance races. During the mid-19th century, match races for betting purposes became very popular in Great Britain and the USA.

Every Olympic Games since 1912 has included a men’s 5000m.

Did you know

It wasn’t until 1996 that a women’s version of the 5000m featured at the Olympic Games, replacing the 3000m.

Gold standard

Unquestionably this is the realm of the East Africans, with Kenya and Ethiopia dominating; Tanzania and Uganda are strong, too. Athletes from Morocco and Algeria have also enjoyed success.


Said Aouita

The versatile Moroccan dominated throughout the mid-to-late 1980s. He won Olympic gold in 1984 and took the world title three years later. He was also the first man to cover the distance within 13 minutes.

Gabriela Szabo

The fast-finishing Romanian landed back-to-back world titles in 1997 and 1999 before enjoying Olympic glory in Sydney in 2000.