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Long-distance running

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Steve Prefontaine

Steve Roland "Pre" Prefontaine was an American middle and long-distance runner who competed in the 1972 Olympics. Prefontaine held American records in seven different distance track events, from 2,000 to 10,000 meters; he died at age 24 in an automobile accident near his residence in Eugene, Oregon.

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Paula Radcliffe

Paula Jane Radcliffe, MBE is an English long-distance runner. She is a three-time winner of the London Marathon, three-time New York Marathon champion, and 2002 Chicago Marathon winner. She has held the Women’s World Record time of 2:15:25 for the marathon since 2003.

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Kenenisa Bekele

Kenenisa Bekele is an Ethiopian long-distance runner and the current world record and Olympic record holder in both the 5,000 metre and 10,000 metre events. He took Gold in both the 10,000m and 5,000m events at the 2008 Summer Olympics. At the 2004 Olympics he took Gold in the 10,000m and Silver in the 5000m. He is married to Danawit Gebregziabher and he has one younger brother, Tariku Bekele, who is also an accomplished world-class distance runner.

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Zola Budd

Zola Pieterse is a middle-distance and long-distance runner. She competed at the 1984 Olympic Games for Great Britain and the 1992 Olympic Games for South Africa, both times in the 3000 metres. In 1984 (unratified) and 1985, she broke the world record in the women's 5000 metres. She was also a two-time winner at the World Cross Country Championships (1985–1986). Budd's career was unusual in that she mainly trained and raced barefoot. She moved with her family to South Carolina in 2008, and competes at marathons and ultramarathons. She volunteers as assistant coach at Coastal Carolina University in Conway. Her mile best of 4:17.57 in 1985, still stands as the British record.

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Fauja Singh

Fauja Singh BEM is a British Sikh centenarian marathon runner of Punjabi Indian descent. He has beaten a number of world records in multiple age brackets, but none of his times have been ratified as records. His current personal best time for the London Marathon (2003) is 6 hours 2 minutes, and his marathon record, for age 90-plus, is 5 hours 40 minutes at the age of 92, at the 2003 Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

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Galen Rupp

Galen Rupp is an American long-distance runner. He competed in the Summer Olympics in 2008 in Beijing, 2012 in London, and 2016 in Rio de Janeiro. In London he won the silver medal in the men's 10,000 meters, and in Rio de Janeiro he won the bronze medal in the men's marathon. Rupp previously competed for the University of Oregon and currently trains under Alberto Salazar as a member of the Nike Oregon Project. He won the 2017 Chicago Marathon, the first American to do so since Khalid Khannouchi in 2002, and after a 35-year period of wins by international born runners, the last American born being Greg Meyer in 1982.

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Shalane Flanagan

Shalane Flanagan is an American long-distance runner. She holds the American record times in the 3000 meters (indoor), 5000 m (indoor) and 15K road race. She won the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics in the 10,000 m and the bronze medal at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships. She won the Women's 2017 New York City Marathon, the first American woman to do so since Miki Gorman in 1977.

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Shizo Kanakuri

Shizo Kanakuri was a Japanese marathon runner and one of the early leaders of track and field athletics in Japan. He has been celebrated as the "father of marathon" in Japan.

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Paavo Nurmi

Paavo Johannes Nurmi was a Finnish middle-distance and long-distance runner. He was nicknamed the "Flying Finn" as he dominated distance running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometres, and won nine gold and three silver medals in his twelve events in the Olympic Games. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated for 121 races at distances from 800 m upwards. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m.

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Ryan Hall (runner)

Ryan Hall is a retired American long-distance runner who holds the U.S. record in the half marathon. With his half marathon record time (59:43), he became the first U.S. runner to break the one-hour barrier in the event. He is also the only American to run a sub-2:05 marathon. However, this time is not eligible to be a record due to the course being point-to-point and its elevation drop. Hall won the marathon at the 2008 United States Olympic Trials and placed tenth in the Olympic marathon in Beijing.

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Desiree Linden

Desiree "Desi" Nicole Linden is an American long-distance runner. She represented the United States in the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics women's marathon. In 2018, she won the Boston Marathon, becoming the first American in 33 years to win the woman's category in the event.

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Frank Shorter

Frank Charles Shorter is an American former long-distance runner who won the gold medal in the marathon at the 1972 Summer Olympics and the silver medal at the 1976 Summer Olympics. His Olympic success, along with the achievements of other American runners, is credited with igniting the running boom in the United States during the 1970s.

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Yuki Kawauchi

Yuki Kawauchi is a Japanese marathon runner. He came to prominence after running the 2011 Tokyo Marathon in 2:08:37, finishing as the first Japanese and third overall. He is known as the "citizen runner" given that he works full-time for the government of Saitama Prefecture and trains in his time off with his own expenses without any sponsorship.

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Joan Benoit

Joan Benoit Samuelson is an American marathon runner who won gold at the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, the year that the women's marathon was introduced. As a result, she was the first-ever women's Olympic marathon champion. Benoit Samuelson still holds the fastest times for an American woman at the Chicago Marathon and the Olympic Marathon. Her time at the Boston Marathon was the fastest time by an American woman at that race for 28 years. She was inducted into the Maine Women's Hall of Fame in 2000.

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Deena Kastor

Deena Michelle Kastor is an American long-distance runner. She holds American records in the marathon, half-marathon, and numerous road distances. She won the bronze medal in the women's marathon at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Greece. She is also an eight-time national champion in cross country.