Haile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian distance runner who set a number of world records throughout his career in distances ranging from the two mile up to the marathon. He won two Olympic gold medals, both in the 10,000 meters, and racked up several major marathon victories, including four in a row at the Berlin Marathon.
Coaches laughed at Zatopek’s training routine. But eventually his methods became the norm. "Like Edison invented the light bulb, Zatopek invented how to train for long distance running," said Frantisek Broz, 71, a Czech relay runner in the 1952 Olympics and Zatopek’s good friend.
Joan Benoit Samuelson (1957- ) is an author, marathon runner, and former Olympian. In 1983, just two years after surgery on her Achilles tendon, Benoit set the world record in the marathon. Later that year, Benoit won the Boston Marathon; her 2:22:43 would not be bested for 11 years.
Several days after Bolt broke the world records in 100 and 200 metres events, Mike Powell, the world record holder in long jump (8.95 metres set in 1991) argued that Bolt could become the first man to jump over 9 metres, the long jump event being "a perfect fit for his speed and height".
Florence Delorez Griffith–Joyner (born Florence Delorez Griffith; December 21, 1959 – September 21, 1998), also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the fastest woman of all time based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100 m and 200 m still stand.
Deena Kastor Deena Kastor (1973- ) is an American professional long distance runner and Olympic medalist. Following a successful collegiate career at the University of Arkansas, Kastor competed in the 10,000 meter race at the 2000 Olympic finals, after which she turned her attention to road races.
Geoffrey Mutai (1981- ) is a Kenyan long-distance runner. He has won numerous marathons and half marathons around the world, including the 2011 and 2013 New York City Marathon and the 2012 Berlin Marathon. In 2011, Mutai's winning time at the Boston Marathon, 2:03:02, would have been a world record if Boston were a record-eligible course.
Once a world-class distance runner himself, Alberto Salazar (1958—) now coaches athletes for the Nike Oregon Project. While at the University of Oregon, Salazar won the NCAA cross country championship, broke the American indoor 5,000 meter record by over 20 seconds, and qualified for the 1980 Olympics.
Kenenisa Bekele (born June 13, 1982) is an Ethiopian who is widely considered one the greatest male distance runners of all time. He is a three-time Olympic champion (5,000 meters in 2008, 10,000 meters in 2004 and 2008) as well as a five-time outdoor world champion (5,000 meters, 2009, 10,000 meters in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009).