4 × 400 metres relay

The 4-by- 400 - meter relay ( 4 × 400 meters relay in English ) is an Olympic athletics competition, in which four runners ( the baton ) successively pass each round a stadium of 400 meters. It is a rod to get to the finish, the time has to be handed over to the next runner. Is considered the total time the finish line of the fourth runner. The 4-by- 400 - meter relay is in the Olympic program since 1912 for men and 1972 for women.

The first runner starts as in the 400 -meter run in the crouch start from starting blocks and to balance the curve offset distance. The first round and the first 100 meters of the second round are to walk in paths, then all runners must swing in the inside lane. If no more than four teams participating, it is permissible, only the first 100 meters to run in lanes.

To switch between the runners of the space of ten meters in front of and behind the goal line is provided.

The second runner starts to compensate for the curve offset by the same procedure as for the brand 800 -meter run. When changing from second to third and from the third to the fourth runner to the acquiring runners put on in the order in which their team has reached the 200 - meter point of the stadium round. You also need to maintain this position if changes after the order until the handover.

In major competitions with elimination rounds may be exchanged up to two of the runners. Exchanged runner may not run with the relay in later rounds.

The processes are specified for outdoor competitions in Rule 170 and for hall competitions in Rule 217 of the technical regulations of the International Athletics Federation IAAF (See links).

  • 4.2.1 Men
  • 4.2.2 Women outdoor
  • hall
  • 4.3.1 Men
  • 4.3.2 Women


The first season runs from athletes, there were around 1880 in the U.S., according to the model of competitions of firefighters that ran every 300 meters and a pennant handed over. The pennant was replaced by a wooden stick from a root length (30.48 cm).

At the Olympic Games in 1908, the first Olympic relay was added to the program, in the 200 meters twice and once each 400 and 800 meters were to run. The usual up to the present route lengths, 4 by 100 meters and 4 x 400 meters were introduced at the Olympic Games in 1912.

Since 1963 it is the acquiring runner allowed to run ten meters before the finish line.


  • Men First official world record: 3:18,2 min, Irish American AC, 1911
  • First run under 3:10 minutes: 3:08,2 min, United States United States, 1932
  • First run in under 3 minutes: 2:59,6 min, United States United States, 1966
  • First run under 2:55 minutes: 2:54,29 min, United States United States, 1993

The longest component as a world record - 23 years - had the time of 2:56,1 min, the season of the United States from 1968

  • Women First official world record: 3:47,4 min, Select City Moscow, 1969
  • First run under 3:40: 3:37,6 min, United Kingdom United Kingdom, 1969
  • First run under 3:30 minutes: 3:29,3 min, Democratic Republic of Germany 1949 German Democratic Republic, 1971
  • First run under 3:20 minutes: 3:19,2 min, Democratic Republic of Germany 1949 German Democratic Republic, 1976

Successful teams

  • Men 16 Olympic medals: United States United States
  • 7 World Championship victories: United States United States
  • Women three Olympic medals: Soviet Union Soviet Union, United Team Vereintes team as well as the United States United States
  • Four World Cup victories: United States United States

The German men won

  • At the Olympic Games three silver medals: Deutsches Reich Germany (1928 ), Germany team overall total German German team (1960), Democratic Republic of Germany 1949 German Democratic Republic ( 1980)
  • Six bronze medals: Deutsches Reich Nazi German Empire (1936 ), four times: Germany BR BR Germany (1952, 1968, 1976 and 1988 )
  • At World Championships a silver medal: Germany BR BR Germany (1983 )
  • A bronze medal: Germany Germany (1993 )

Won the German women

  • At the Olympic Games two gold medals: Germany Democratic Republic in 1949 German Democratic Republic ( 1972 and 1976 )
  • A silver medal: Germany Democratic Republic in 1949 German Democratic Republic ( 1980)
  • Four bronze medals: Germany BR BR Germany (1972, 1984), Democratic Republic of Germany 1949 German Democratic Republic (1988) and Germany Germany (1996 )
  • At World Championships three gold medals: Germany Democratic Republic in 1949 German Democratic Republic (1983 and 1987 ), Germany Germany (1997)
  • A silver medal: Germany Germany (2001)
  • Two bronze medals: Germany Germany (1991 and 1999)

The successful German runners:

  • Germany Democratic Republic in 1949 Christina Lathan 1976 Olympic champion and 1980 Olympic silver medalist
  • Germany BR Manfred children each won Olympic silver (1960) and bronze ( 1968)
  • Germany Democratic Republic in 1949 Sabine Busch and Germany Democratic Republic 1949 Dagmar Neubauer were 1983 and 1987 World Champions
  • Germany Grit Breuer is the only German athlete with four world championship medals (1991 Bronze, 1997 Gold, 1999 Bronze, 2001 Silver)



  • Medal winner at the Olympic Games
  • Medalist at World Championships


  • Medal winners at the Olympic Games
  • Medalists at World Championships

World record development

The earliest registered best performance on the 4 × 440- yards - section (4 × 402.34 m ) comes from a team of Princeton University ( United States United States). This expired on 13 May 1893 in Philadelphia, a time of 3:34 min 1 /5 s ( John Chapman, George McCampbell, Irving Brokaw, Theodore Turner).

Only once, when Jamaica was 1952 world record was the best performance not in possession of U.S. athletes.

With over 23 years of existence were the 2:56,1 min of the United States Olympic season from October 1, 1968 one of the most enduring world records in track and field history. He was not surpassed until August 8, 1992.

Poorly in Uniondale on 22 July 1998 world record of the U.S. squadron was subsequently withdrawn due to the doping confession of Antonio Pettigrew.

Eleven of the twelve world records (on meter distances) were run at the Olympic Games (as of 2007).

Comments on the table:

  • Y: 4 × 440- yards run, here given for comparison with the first 4-by- 400-meter world record and, if the yards record was below the meter record (1928, 1931)
  • Clip Information: Electronically stopped time, if the world record was registered with the handgestoppten times
  • The full names of the runners are under the respective link



While 3-by- 800 -meter runs are detectable in the statistics show that since 1927, relay races were recorded on the 400 - meter track only in the 1950s.

1969, the first year of official registration, but seven world records in the 4 x 400 - meter race has been set up. Two more world records in the same year were not recognized as world records because each athletes from several countries ran: On June 15, reached a Scandinavian Season 3:42,7 min ( 0.5 s under world record). On July 30, a squadron Europe remained in a meet against the United States United States in Stuttgart in 3:32,8 min by 1.4 seconds under the existing world record.

In 1971, the first time a DDR team a world record, and since then the GDR was until 1988 owned by the best. Among these are the only two world records with the same busy season ( 9 and 10 September 1972).

Two runners this DDR seasons, Helga Seidler and Monika Zehrt, managed the rare success, to be involved in four relay world records (August 15, 1971 to September 10, 1972 ).

Comments on the table:

  • Y: time was at a 4-by- 440- yard run ( 4 times 402.34 meters) achieved and is here given for comparison, since later times have been recorded on the 400 - meter track.
  • In parentheses: Automatic stop time, as a world record, however, the handgestoppte time was recognized

Global leaderboard

All times of 2:59 minutes or less. Seasons of the same team are called, if run in each different occupation or order.

Last Modified: August 16, 2013

  • German record: 2:59,86 min - Germany Democratic Republic in 1949 German Democratic Republic ( Frank Möller, Mathias shear Sing, Jens Carlowitz, Thomas Schönlebe ), Erfurt, June 23, 1985


All services under 3:21 minutes. Teams with the same name are listed, provided that run in different occupation or order.

Last Modified: August 11, 2012