[Skip to Content]
Access to paid content on this site is currently suspended due to excessive activity being detected from your IP address Please contact the publisher to request reinstatement.
[Skip to Content Landing]
October 11, 1952


JAMA. 1952;150(6):593. doi:10.1001/jama.1952.03680060065020

Although man has been running foot races for thousands of years, it is only within the past century that clocking devices have made it possible to record his running time accurately. With some 75 years of clocked competition now registered, it is increasingly difficult for an athlete to place his name in the record book. Recently, Lietzke1 made an analysis of running records most likely to be surpassed and by how much, by plotting curves on the basis of the best human performance at various distances from 100 yards to 25 miles. Performances were considered in terms of average speed over a full distance, rather than the total time for a race. A smooth curve was drawn through the best world records, with points on the curve presumably representing the limit, or very close to the limit, of track athletes' possible achievements at each given distance. From these curves