Elite Distance Runners who Forefoot Strike

Elite distance runners are more likely to rise to top rankings if they execute proper mechanics, particularly at the foot strike level.

To help you feel overconfident with forefoot running, take a look at the accomplishments of just a few of the many elite distance runners who forefoot strike:

Runners who forefoot strike: Galen Rupp, Farah, Mutai

Elite Distance Runners who Forefoot Strike

Galen Rupp (left): 1 Olympic silver medal for 10,000m, AR holder for 10,000m (26:44), indoor 3,000m (7:30), 2 mile (8:07), 5000m (13:01).

Mo Farah (center): 2 Olympic gold medals (5,000m & 10,000m), 3 World Championship gold medals (1 x 10,000m & 2 x 5,000m), WR for indoor 2 miles (8:03).

Geoffrey Mutai (top right): won 7 marathons & 5 half-marathons between 2008 – 2014.

Elite distance runners who forefoot strike: Lisa Uhl, Tirunesh Dibaba,Kim Smith

Lisa Uhl (left) NCAA current record holder for 10,000m. Tirunesh Dibaba (center): 3 Olympic gold medals (2x 10,000 & 1 x 5000m), 5 World Championship gold medals (3 x 10,000, & 2 x 5,000m), 5 World XC Championship gold medals, holds WR for 5,000m (14:11) and 15km road (46:28). Kim Smith (right): national record holder for 1 mile, 3000m and 5000m (New Zealand)

Runners who forefoot strike: Kenenisa Bekele, Bernard Lagat, Haile Geb Kenenisa Bekele (left): 3 Olympic gold medals (2 x 10,000m & 1 x 5,000m), 5 World Championship gold medals (4 x 10,000m & 1 x 5,000m), 4 WR’s for indoor 2,000m (4:49), outdoor & indoor 5,000m (12:37), outdoor 5,000m (12:49), 10,000m (26:17). Bernard Lagat (center): 2 World Championship gold medals (1,500m & 5,000m), 2 Indoor World Championship gold medals (1,500m & 5,000m). Haile Gebrselassie (right): 2 Olympic gold medals (10,000m), 4 World Championship gold medals (10,000m), 4 Indoor World Championship gold medals (3 x 3,000m & 1 x 1,500m), won 9 marathons between 2005-2010.

Runners who forefoot strike: Meseret Defar, Edna Kipligat Meseret Defar (left): 2 Olympic gold medals for 5000m, 2 World Championship gold medals for 5000m, 4 indoor World Championship gold medals for 3000m, former WR holder for 2 miles outdoor (8:58), 3000m indoor (8:23) and 5,000m indoor (14:24). Edna Kipligat (center): 2 World Championship gold medals (marathon), recently won London marathon. Axumawit Embaye (left): 1 World Championship silver medal (1,500m).

Who Cares?

Understanding that the best runners in the world utilize a forefoot strike over a heel strike bolsters the validity that forefoot running is associated with the strongest outcome, from a performance perspective as well as a clinical perspective. These outcomes agreed with increasing evidence, suggests that greater damage to the body when running stems from heel striking.

The disadvantages of heel strike running extends beyond compromised running economy. With marked features of higher dynamic loading, transient impacts, and nerve-entrapment injuries, there is no wonder that these field-crushing distance runners avoid heel strike.

Nevertheless, it’s best to learn from those who are the best and high doses of watching and analyzing how they run can be advantageous when it comes to polishing your form.

More From Run Forefoot:

Bretta Riches

"I believe the forefoot strike is the engine of endurance running..."

BSc Neurobiology; MSc Biomechanics candidate, ultra minimalist runner & founder of RunForefoot. I was a heel striker, always injured. I was inspired by the great Tirunesh Dibaba to try forefoot running. Now, I'm injury free. This is why I launched Run Forefoot, to advocate the health & performance benefits of forefoot running and to raise awareness on the dangers of heel striking, because the world needs to know.
Bretta Riches

P.S. Don't forget to check out the Run Forefoot Facebook Page, it's a terrific place to ask questions about forefoot running, barefoot running and injury. I'm always happy to help!

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