Women's 400 Metres World Record Progression
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Women's 400 Metres World Record Progression

The first world record in the 400 m for women (athletics) was recognized by the International Amateur Athletics Federation, now known as the International Association of Athletics Federations, in 1957.

To June 21, 2009, the IAAF has ratified 27 world records in the event. Their 2009 record progression list, however, lists 26 records.[1]

Record progression 1957-1976

Time Auto Athlete Nationality Location of race Date
57.0y Marlene Mathews  Australia Sydney, Australia 6 January 1957[1]
57.0y Marise Chamberlain  New Zealand Christchurch, New Zealand 16 February 1957[1]
56.3y Nancy Boyle  Australia Sydney, Australia 24 February 1957[1]
55.2 Polina Lazareva  Soviet Union Moscow, Soviet Union 10 May 1957[1]
54.0 Mariya Itkina  Soviet Union Minsk, Soviet Union 8 June 1957[1]
53.6 Mariya Itkina  Soviet Union Moscow, Soviet Union 6 July 1957[1]
53.4+ Mariya Itkina  Soviet Union Krasnodar, Soviet Union 12 September 1959[1]
53.4 Mariya Itkina  Soviet Union Belgrade, Yugoslavia 14 September 1962[1]
51.9 Shin Geum-Dan  North Korea Pyongyang, North Korea 23 October 1962[1]
51.7 51.72 Nicole Duclos  France Athens, Greece 18 September 1969[1]
51.7 51.74 Colette Besson  France Athens, Greece 18 September 1969[1]
51.0 51.02 Marilyn Neufville  Jamaica Edinburgh, Scotland 23 July 1970[1]
51.0 51.08 Monika Zehrt  East Germany Paris, France 4 July 1972[1]
49.9 Irena Szewi?ska  Poland Warsaw, Poland 22 June 1974[1]

(y) indicates time for 440 yards (402.34 metres), ratified as a record for this event
(+) plus sign denotes en route time during longer race

The "Time" column indicates the ratified mark; the "Auto" column indicates a fully automatic time that was also recorded in the event when hand-timed marks were used for official records, or which was the basis for the official mark, rounded to the 10th of a second, depending on the rules then in place.

Record progression from 1975

From 1975, the IAAF accepted separate automatically electronically timed records for events up to 400 metres. Starting January 1, 1977, the IAAF required fully automatic timing to the hundredth of a second for these events.[1]

Riitta Salin's 50.14 from 1974 was the fastest recorded result to that time.

Time Athlete Nationality Location of race Date
50.14 Riitta Salin  Finland Rome, Italy 4 September 1974[1]
49.77 Christina Brehmer  East Germany Dresden, East Germany 9 May 1976[1]
49.75 Irena Szewi?ska  Poland Bydgoszcz, Poland 22 June 1976[1]
49.29 Irena Szewi?ska  Poland Montreal, Canada 29 July 1976[1]
49.19 Marita Koch  East Germany Leipzig, East Germany 2 July 1978[1]
49.03 Marita Koch  East Germany Potsdam, East Germany 19 August 1978[1]
48.94 Marita Koch  East Germany Prague, Czechoslovakia 31 August 1978[1]
48.89 Marita Koch  East Germany Potsdam, East Germany 29 July 1979[1]
48.60 Marita Koch  East Germany Turin, Italy 4 August 1979[1]
48.16 Marita Koch  East Germany Athens, Greece 8 September 1982[1]
47.99 Jarmila Kratochvílová  Czechoslovakia Helsinki, Finland 10 August 1983[1]
47.60 Marita Koch  East Germany Canberra, Australia 6 October 1985[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab "12th IAAF World Championships In Athletics: IAAF Statistics Handbook. Berlin 2009" (PDF). Monte Carlo: IAAF Media & Public Relations Department. 2009. pp. Pages 546, 641. Archived from the original (pdf) on June 29, 2011. Retrieved 2009.

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