The past year has been a busy one for athletics statisticians as 21 ratified world records have been set throughout 2018.
Between the start of February and the end of October, at least one world record was set in each calendar month. World records were also set at three of the five World Athletics Series events this year, while some happened at much smaller meetings. Whatever the stage, though, a world record is an achievement worth celebrating.
As 2018 draws to a close, we look back at a timeline of record-breaking marks from this year.
3 February, New York – women’s 4x800m world indoor record
8:05.89 USA (Chrishuna Williams, Raevyn Rogers, Charlene Lipsey, Ajee Wilson)
A strong US quartet teamed up to take little more than a third of a second off the previous world indoor record for this rarely-run event at the Millrose Games.
Previous: 8:06.24 Russia (Aleksandra Bulanova, Yekaterina Martynova, Yelena Kofanova, Anna Balakshina) Moscow 18 Feb 2011
11 February, Pireaus – men’s pole vault world U20 indoor record
5.78m Emmanouil Karalis (GRE)
Before Armand Duplantis really got going in 2018, Greek teenager Emmanouil Karalis managed to claim a world U20 indoor pole vault record for a brief stint.
Previous: 5.75m Armand Duplantis (SWE) New York 11 Feb 2017
18 February, Albuquerque – men’s 60m world indoor record
6.34 Christian Coleman (USA)
Christian Coleman had opened his season with 6.37 which didn’t fulfil all the usual ratification criteria. But everything was in place at the US Indoor Championships, and he went even faster with 6.34.
Previous: 6.39 Maurice Greene (USA) Madrid 3 Feb 1998 and Atlanta 3 Mar 2001
25 February, Clermont-Ferrand – men’s pole vault world U20 indoor record
5.81m, 5.88m Armand Duplantis (SWE)
Armand Duplantis decided that two weeks was long enough for someone else to hold the world U20 indoor pole vault record and reclaimed the mark with two superior vaults.
Previous: 5.78m Emmanouil Karalis (GRE) Pireaus 11 Feb 2018
25 February, Boston – men’s 4x800m world indoor record
7:11.30 USA (Joe McAsey, Chris Giesting, Kyle Merber, Jesse Garn)
Producing the second world record of the day, the Hoka NJNY Track Club won a high-quality 4x800m race in Boston in which all three teams finished inside the previous world record.
Previous: 7:13.11 USA (Richard Jones, David Torrence, Duane Solomon, Erik Sowinski) Boston 8 Feb 2014
4 March, Birmingham – men’s 4x400m world indoor record
3:01.77 Poland (Karol Zalewski, Rafal Omelko, Lukasz Krawczuk, Jakub Krzewina)
The biggest surprise of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018 came in the final event as Poland overhauled the heavily favoured US quartet to win the men’s 4x400m with a world indoor record.
Previous: 3:02.13 United States (Kyle Clemons, David Verburg, Kind Butler, Calvin Smith) Sopot 9 Mar 2014
24 March, Valencia – women’s half marathon world record
1:06:11wo Netsanet Gudeta Kebede (ETH)
The women-only world record looked vulnerable before the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 but few would have predicted that Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta would be the one to claim it.
Previous: 1:06:25wo Lornah Kiplagat (NED) Udine 14 Oct 2007
31 March, Austin – men’s pole vault world U20 record
5.92m Armand Duplantis (SWE)
Because the US high school season wouldn’t be the US high school season without a world U20 record from Armand Duplantis.
Previous: 5.90m Armand Duplantis (SWE) Austin 1 Apr 2017
27 April, Fayetteville – women’s 400m hurdles world U20 record
53.60 Sydney McLaughlin (USA)
When Sydney McLaughlin opened her season with a world U20 record, it was clear she was set for a big year. The IAAF Female Rising Star of 2018 went on to run even faster with 52.75, but that mark is still pending ratification.
Previous: 53.82 Sydney McLaughlin (USA) Sacramento 25 Jun 2017
5 May, Taicang – women’s 50km race walk world record
4:04:36 Liang Rui (CHN)
China’s Liang Rui proved to be a popular winner at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships Taicang 2018, where her strong second half in the women’s 50km race walk put her will inside world record schedule.
Previous: 4:05:56 Inês Henriques (POR) London 13 Aug 2017
23 June, Kingston – men’s 110m hurdles world U20 record
12.99 (0.3m/s) Damion Thomas (JAM)
Jamaican sprint hurdler spent most of his season contesting the senior height hurdles, but in one of his brief forays over the lower barriers used by U20 athletes, he equalled the world U20 record.
Equalled: 12.99 (0.5m/s) Wilhem Belocian (FRA) Eugene 24 Jul 2014
24 June, Kitami City – men's 100km world record
6:09:14 Nao Kazami (JPN)
The longest-standing – and perhaps most surprising – world record to fall this year was the men’s 100km. Nao Kazami took four minutes off the previous mark set 20 years ago by compatriot Takahiro Sunada.
Previous: 6:13:33 Takahiro Sunada (JPN) Tokoro 21 Jun 1998
20 July, Monaco – women’s steeplechase world record
8:44.32 Beatrice Chepkoech (KEN)
Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech produced one of the stand-out moments of the IAAF Diamond League season when chopping eight seconds off the world steeplechase record in Monaco.
Previous: 8:52.78 Ruth Jebet (BRN) Paris 2 Aug 2016
12 August, Berlin – men’s pole vault world U20 record
5.95m, 6.00m, 6.05m Armand Duplantis (SWE)
Armand Duplantis stunned the athletics world when winning the senior European pole vault title in Berlin. He broke his own world U20 title three times in the final, scaling 5.95m, 6.00m and 6.05m all on his first attempts.
Previous: 5.92m Armand Duplantis (SWE) Austin 31 Mar 2018
31 August, Brussels – men’s 5000m world U20 record
12:43.02 Selemon Barega (ETH)
The majority of the field in the men’s 5000m at the IAAF Diamond League final in Brussels latched on to the early fast tempo set by the pacemakers and were rewarded with huge PBs. Selemon Barega was the first to finish, though, and his winning time smashed the world U20 record.
Previous: 12:47.53 Hagos Gebrhiwet (ETH) Paris 6 Jul 2012
16 September, Berlin – men’s marathon world record
2:01:39 Eliud Kipchoge (KEN)
After several previous record attempts were thwarted for various reasons, everything finally fell into place for Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin as he clocked 2:01:39, smashing the world record by 78 seconds – the biggest single improvement on a men’s marathon world record since 1967.
Previous: 2:02:57 Dennis Kimetto (KEN) Berlin 28 Sep 2014
16 September, Talence – men’s decathlon world record
9126 Kevin Mayer (FRA)
Just hours after Kipchoge’s momentous achievement in Berlin, Kevin Mayer produced a stunning series of marks across 10 disciplines in Talence to smash the decathlon record in front of his home crowd.
Previous: 9045 Ashton Eaton (USA) Beijing 29 Aug 2015
28 October, Valencia – men’s half marathon world record
58:18 Abraham Kiptum (KEN)
Zersenay Tadese’s world record had withstood numerous challenges over the past eight years, but Kenya’s Abraham Kiptum finally took it down in Valencia with his run of 58:18.
Previous: 58:23 Zersenay Tadese (ERI) Lisbon 21 March 2010
Jon Mulkeen for the IAAF