15 years on, Hicham El Guerrouj's mile record still stands

Hicham El Guerrouj set the mile run world record on July 7 1999, a record that remains unbroken to this day


by Katherine Price
Getty Images

On this day 15 years ago, Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco set a new mile run world record – a record that still stands today.

At the 1999 Grand Prix in Rome’s Olympic Stadium, Guerrouj set his unbroken record of 3:43.13, beating the existing record set by Noureddine Morceli of 3:44.39. He was closely followed by Noah Ngeny of Kenya, who also beat the previous world record time making it the first time in over 40 years that two men beat the existing mile world record in the same race.

The race became a battle after the final turn between the two runners, but ultimately El Guerrouj’s final sprint surpassed Ngeny by just two strides.

However, Hicham's career did not get off to a glittering start. On the final lap of the 1500-metre final at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics he tripped and fell out of the race with only 400m to go, losing the race to Morceli. 

However, he went on to defeat Morceli in another 1500m race later that year and outstripped Morceli’s mile run record three years later.

The middle distance runner also holds the world records for 1500 metres, 2000 metres, and is a double Olympic gold medalist. Retired from serious competition since 2006, the “King of the Mile” is considered by many to be the greatest middle distance runner of all time.

Who do you think will break the record?


Previous story
69-year-old breaks world record by running 239 marathons in a year
Next story
The summer of speed

Hicham El Guerrouj, mile, record
TwitterStumbleUponFacebookDiggRedditGoogle

Discuss this story

We'd love you to add a comment! Please login or take half a minute to register as a free member