As we all know, many of the greatest distance runners come from Kenya and Ethiopia, and the world’s fastest sprinter (Usain Bolt) is Jamaican.  How do the best runners from other countries compare?

These maps show fastest race time by country relative to the world record for 100 m, 1500 m, 10 km, and a marathon. The data are based on men’s records, and do not include wind-assisted times. A sample calculation is provided to show the meaning of the scale.  All times were divided by the world record time, and then converted to percentage slower than world record time.

Unfortunately, despite the source having thousands of completion times for each race, only a handful of countries are represented for each race length; gray shading means there were no data. Despite this limitation, you can still identify which regions rise to the top, and which are a bit slower.

Data source: http://www.alltime-athletics.com/men.htm

EDIT: Thanks for the feedback regarding missing countries!  Because the country codes change and multiple standards are available, several were not joined correctly in the GIS.  I’ve fixed as many as I can, so the new map has more countries displayed.  Thanks again!

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