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Top 30 Runners | Olympic Stories | Olympic Runners

These are the greatest Olympic runners of all time. In no particular order, here are 30 of the highest profile runners in the world. There are long distance runners, sprinters and medium distance runners as well as marathon runners.



Michael JohnsonMichael JohnsonMichael Duane Johnson is an American professional athlete, specialising in sprint running. He was born on 13th September 1967 in Dallas, United States. Johnson’s father was a truck driver and his mother was a teacher. Johnson released an autobiography called ‘Slaying The Dragon’ where he told of how his mother and father had brought Johnson and his siblings up.
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Catherine NderebaCatherine NderebaCatherine Ndereba is a renowned professional female long distance runner who was born in Kenya on 31st July 1972. As a child, when she collected water for the family, she often returned with the water in double quick time compared with her brothers and sisters.
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Steve PrefontaineSteve PrefontaineSteve Prefontaine is an American middle distance and long distance professional runner. He was born in Oregon on 25th January 1951. His parents were German and Canadian. Prefontaine is remembered physically by his moustache and his long hair.
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Naoko TakahashiNaoko TakahashiNaoko Takahashi is a Japanese marathon runner, born on 6th May 1972 in Gifu, Japan. She is most famous for her win at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney giving her a gold medal. Many of her fans have nicknames her ‘Q-Chan’
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Wang JunxiaWang JunxiaWang Junxia is a renowned female professional Chinese runner. He was born on 19th January 1973. Her home town was Jiaohe in Jilin City, China. Her preferred category was long distance running. Junxia had a relatively short career and retired in 1996 at the age of just 23. Junxia is married to Zhan Yu.
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Yoko ShibuiYoko ShibuiYoko Shibui is a female professional long distance runner who was born in Tochigi Prefecture in Japan on 14th March 1979. She attended the Nasutakuyo High School in Japan. She is well known for running marathons, 5,000 and 10,000 metre races.
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Sun YingjieSun YingjieSun Yingjie is a female long distance runner from China. She was born on 19th January 1979 in Sujiatun, China. Yingjie ran mostly in marathons between 1997 and 2000, with her first big marathon even being the Chinese National Games, coming 10th with a time of 2:32:43.
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Geoffrey MutaiGeoffrey MutaiGeoffrey Mutai is a long distance runner, and was born in Kenya on 7th October 1981. He is an athlete runner whose specialist category is long distance road running (i.e. marathons). He has run in the Eindhoven Marathon twice and both times he has won the title.
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Tirunesh DibabaTirunesh DibabaTirunesh Dibaba was born in Chefa on 1st October 1985, Ethiopia. She is an Ethiopian champion in long distance athletic running. She is well known for her sprint finish at the end of her runs, when she commonly overtakes the leader.
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Paul TergatPaul TergatPaul Tergat is an athletic long distance runner from Kenya. He was born on 17 June 1969 in Kabarnet, Barango, Kenya. Before becoming a professional runner, Tergat was a basketball player, but in 1992 his career as a runner began after he won the Cross Country Championships race.
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Patrick MakauPatrick MakauPatrick Makau is a long distance runner from Kenya. His full name is Patrick Makau Musyoki. He was born on 2nd March 1985 in Manyanzwani in the Eastern Province of Kenya.  Until 1999 Makau attended the Unyuani Primary School in Kenya.
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Deena KastorDeena KastorDeena Michelle Kastor is an American long distance female runner, and was born on 14th February 1973 in the US. She attended Agoura High School in Agoura Hills, California before moving on to the University of Arkansas. Kastor is married to Andrew Kastor, and she is currently pregnant with their first child which is due in May 2011.
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Kenenisa BekeleKenenisa BekeleKenenisa Bekele is an Ethiopian professional long distance runner, and was born in Bekoji, Ethiopia on 13th June 1982. The town he was born in was the same town as the Dubabi sisters and Derartu Tulu who are also accomplished runners. His brother, Tariku Bekele is also a well achieving long distance runner.
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James KwambaiJames KwambaiJames Kipsang Kwambai is a Kenyan born long distance runner, whose athletic speciality is marathon races. Kwambai was born on 28th February 1983. From a young age, Kwambai showed a passion for running and little did his family and friends know that he would become one of the most renowned runners of our time.
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Irina MikitenkoIrina MikitenkoIrina Mikitenko is a German professional long distance runner and was born on August 23, 1972 in Bakanas, Kazakhstan. Her great grandparents had moved to Kazakhstan just before the first World War, so her parents still had their German passports. Mikitenko’s birthday is just before a major sporting event in Germany -just three days after she was born the Olympic Games of Munich began.
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Roger BannisterRoger BannisterRoger Bannister was formerly an English professional runner born in Harrow, England on 23rd March 1929. He started out in Vaughan Primary school in London, where talent for running began to emerge. He later went on to study medicine, and attended Exeter College and Oxford, and St Mary’s Hospital Medical School.
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Mizuki NoguchiMizuki NoguchiMizuki Noguchi is a world professional long distance (marathon) runner, and was born in Japan on 3rd July 1978. Mizuki was born in Kanagawa but grew up in Ise City in Mie. At middle school, she began running, competing against school friends on the track and the field.
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Duncan KibetDuncan KibetDuncan Kibet is a long distance runner born in Kenya on 25th April 1978. Kibet attended school in Kenya, however he was forced to leave school in 1997 due to financial issues. He was quite late to enter into his running career, and was spurred on by his older brother. Brother Luke Metto was a relatively successful runner himself around the millennium.
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Hicham El GuerroujHicham El GuerroujHicham El Guerrouj was a Moroccan professional middle distance runner but is now retired. He is well known for winning the Olympics gold medal twice, as well as holding the records for the 1500 metre distance, one mile distance, and the 2000 metre outdoor distance.
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Haile GebrselassieHaile GebrselassieHaile Gebrselassie is an Ethiopian long distance runner and was born on April 18, 1973 in Asella, Arsi Province, Ethiopia. He now lives in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia. It would seem that the talent runs in the family no pun intended!
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Sammy KorirSammy KorirSammy Korir is a long distance runner from Kenya. He was born 12th December 1971. His most notable achievement was in 2008 when he became the first male runner to run ten marathons in under 2 hours and 9 minutes, when he completed the Dubai Marathon.
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Linford ChristieLinford ChristieLinford Christie, born on 2nd April 1960 was a professional British runner, and he remains the only British runner to have won gold medals at the four biggest running events in the world for his performance in the 100 metre races.
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Wilson KipsangWilson KipsangWilson Kipsang Kiprotich is a Kenyan born athletic runner, whose specialist category is long distance running including marathons, but particularly 10 kilometre and half marathon races. He was born on 15th March 1982 in the Keiyo District of Kenya
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Zhou ChunxiuZhou ChunxiuZhou Chunxiu was born on 15th November 1978 in Jiangsu, China. She is a Chinese long distance marathon runner. She is the daughter of Zhou Fuyuan and Jiang Yunying, who are peasant farmers from one of the poorest areas of their home country, China, called Henan, so their daughter’s success and talent is something that they are naturally extremely proud of.
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Usain BoltUsain BoltBolt has one of the most apt names in athletic running. He is a Jamaican born athletic sprinter, and was born on 21st August 1986 in Trelawny, Jamaica. He has won three gold medals in his time for his performances in the World Games and Olympic Games.
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Abel KiruiAbel KiruiAbel Kirui is a long distance runner from Kenya, and was born on 4th June 1982. Kirui should feel very good about his effort at the 2007 Berlin Marathon as he was up against Haile Gebrselassie, and he probably didn’t think he’d be able to keep up but he came very close.
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Liliya ShobukhovaLiliya ShobukhovaLiliya Bulatovna Shobukhova is a Russian long distance female runner who was born in Russia on 13th November 1977. Her specialities are marathon, 3,000 metre and 5,000 metre races
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Tyson GayTyson GayTyson Gay born on 9th August 1982 is an American born sprint runner. He was born in Kentucky as an only child to his parents as a couple, Daisy Gay and Greg Mitchell although his mother had children from previous relationships
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Edwin MosesEdwin MosesEdwin Moses is one of the most inspirational athletes of our time. He is an American track and field athlete, and was born on 31st August 1955 in Dayton, Ohio. He is well known for being an Olympic champion.
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Paula RadcliffePaula RadcliffePaula’s first successful race was in 1992, when she won the junior title in the World Cross Country Championships when she beat her competitors by quite a way. In the 1993 World Championships when she was just 19, Paula came in 7th place.
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