300m: 30.81 – A Quick Overview

Yesterday I was a very happy man as I watched Wayde van Niekerk improve the 300m world record (officially world best because it’s not a standard discipline) to 30.81 at the Golden Spike meeting in Ostrava, Czech Republic. His reaction time was 0.152 s.

The previous best of 30.85 was set in 2000 by Michael Johnson at altitude in Pretoria, South Africa. Wayde’s run also eclipsed Usain Bolt’s meeting record (and personal best) of 30.97 from 2010.


 1.  30.81   Wayde van Niekerk (RSA), Ostrava, 28 Jun 2017 
 2.  30.85A  Michael Johnson (USA), Pretoria, 24 Mar 2000
 3.  30.97   Usain Bolt (JAM), Ostrava, 27 May 2010
 4.  31.03   Wayde van Niekerk (RSA), Kingston, 11 Jun 2016
 5.  31.23   LaShawn Merritt (USA), Kingston, 11 Jun 2016
 6.  31.30   LaShawn Merritt (USA), Eugene, 7 Jun 2009
 7.  31.31   LaShawn Merritt (USA), Eugene 8 Aug 2006
 8.  31.44   Isaac Makwala (BOT), Ostrava, 28 Jun 2017 
 9.  31.48   Danny Everett (USA), Jerez de la Frontera, 3 Sep 1990
10.  31.48   Roberto Hernández (CUB), Jerez de la Frontera, 3 Sep 1990

WVN 300m WB WR


 1.  35.30A  Ana Guevara (MEX), Ciudad de México, 03 May 2003
 2.  35.46   Kathy Cook (GBR), London, 18 Aug 1984
 2.  35.46   Chandra Cheeseborough (USA), London, 18 Aug 1984
 4.  35.51   Kathy Cook (GBR), London, 9 Sep 1983
 5.  35.70   Irena Szewinska (POL), London, 4 Jul 1975
 5.  35.70   Léa Sprunger (SUI), Langenthal, 25 May 2017
 7.  35.71   Donna Fraser (GBR), Gateshead, 28 Aug 2000
 8.  35.74   Courtney Okolo (USA), Houston, 23 Jul 2016
 9.  35.81   Silke Knoll (GER), Olpe, 19 May 1990
10.  35.82   Cydonie Mothersille (CAY), Sydney, 14 Sep 2000

Van Niekerk continues to impress this season and he has now lowered his 100m PB from 9.98 (2016) to 9.94, his 200m from 19.94 (2015) to 19.84 and his 300m from 31.03 (2016) to 30.81. He has yet to run a serious 400m this season.
Everyone is talking about him being the only athlete in history to run sub-10, 20 and 44 in the three main sprint disciplines, but he is now on the verge of doing the same in a single season!
It’s obvious that he can go under 44 already, so it’s safe to say that we are all now just holding our breaths to see if he can indeed make the impossible happen and dip under 43 in the 400m.

But a new 400m WR is not on the cards just yet because it might be that he was already capable of running 30.8 in the 300m when he ran 43.03 at the Rio Olympics. Remember that his 300m split in that race was clocked at ~31.0 (31.04 with my very unofficial analysis). This was on par with his open 300m time of 31.03 from June of 2016 in Kingston.

His stride pattern in Ostrava was also very similar to the one from Rio. It took him 121.0 strides to reach the 300m mark in 31.0 seconds en route to his 400m world record, and yesterday in Ostrava he made 121.2 strides. In the 300m race in Kingston, on the other hand, he made 123.5 strides.

31.03   123.5 strides  Kingston 2016 
31.04*  121.0 strides  Rio de Janeiro 2016 *en route to 43.03 in the 400m
30.81   121.2 strides  Ostrava 2017

So since Kingston he was able to shave off two whole steps on his way to the 300m mark while still being just as fast (Rio) or faster (Ostrava), meaning that his stride frequency didn’t suffer as a consequence of the longer stride.

He definitely has the speed, now it’s just a question of how good he can hold on in the last 100 meters (the prayer part of the race).

Žiga P. Škraba

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