The fastest mile ever run deserves a deep rewind | Hicham El Guerrouj's 1999 World Record

  • Published: 21 July 2019
  • It's July 7, 1999, and two runners are barreling toward the finish line of a mile race with a world record in reach.

    To fully appreciate this incredible moment in track and field history, you need to remember how Morocco's Hicham El Guerrouj and Kenya's Noah Ngeny got to this point. You need to remember the history of the mile run, which is an unusual and sort of atavistic event within the sport. You need to know how its record has progressed over the years, in fits and starts marked by head-to-head battles.

    And you need to know the history of these two men: How El Guerrouj has literally tangled with Algerian legend Noureddine Morceli, whose record he's trying to beat, and how Ngeny helped El Guerrouj beat another one of Morceli's records before this.

    You need to rewind!

    Written and produced by Seth Rosenthal
    Shot and edited by Michael Imhoff


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Comments • 669

  • Aeneiden
    Aeneiden  12 hours back

    El Guerrouj and Daniel Komen are the GOATs of middle distance. But Ngeny's 2'11'96 on 1000m is really good too.

    • Aaron Davidson
      Aaron Davidson  1 days back

      i totally thought he was gonna make a case for Guerrouj doping. So glad it's not that

      • gunner jax
        gunner jax  1 days back

        Who’s here after kipchoge ran a sub 2 hour marathon?

        • Jaco
          Jaco  2 days back

          Beats World Record. Finishes 2nd. That bites.

          • Dennis Svitak
            Dennis Svitak  2 days back

            I ran a 51.9 quarter mile in high school..and thought I was something! A 2:20 half mile was the best I could ever do...and I died at anything longer.

            • Mr Nice Guy
              Mr Nice Guy  2 days back

              Wasn’t the Moroccan dude doped up?

              • ReZ94BYU
                ReZ94BYU  3 days back

                Can we get a Billy Mills rewinder please!!!

                • D4amaz Ing
                  D4amaz Ing  3 days back

                  What the instrumental at the end

                  • Supernova
                    Supernova  5 days back

                    Pretty awesome but too much pausing.

                    • Adam Hohlt
                      Adam Hohlt  6 days back

                      My science teacher can run under a 4 minute mile

                      And he’s not even a cross country coach

                      • Tyler Brown
                        Tyler Brown  3 days back

                        Adam Hohlt a guy I know ran 4:09 for the school record in high school and ran under 4 minutes while training for the olympics until he shattered his knee cap. Don’t think he ever got on the official list of “1500” people, but my point is there’s definitely people out there who can run it that fast that aren’t known for it. People have done it at the high school level now, so it’s not so unbelievable to think that we could easily have double that number of people who have done it but not in any official race.

                      • Fine Wine Daily
                        Fine Wine Daily  3 days back

                        Who is your science teacher? If he can currently or has ever run a sub-4 mile, then he's a fairly prominent and world class middle distance runner.

                      • Radical Bradical
                        Radical Bradical  4 days back

                        Adam Hohlt also even though only 1500 people have done it it’s also worth saying 1 mile isn’t a XC race its 3 so either he’s lying or you are

                      • Isaac Rushworth
                        Isaac Rushworth  4 days back

                        Are you sure about that? Only 1500 people ever have done it?

                    • Cabecool10 / Skelemaster767

                      “... History as a middle distance runner”
                      Boi I be dead after running a mile

                      • Radical Bradical
                        Radical Bradical  4 days back

                        Cabecool10 / Skelemaster767 that’s not funny it’s just sad really

                    • Jack Gorton
                      Jack Gorton  2 weeks back

                      Imagine breaking the mile record and yet still don’t win the race😂

                    • Mister YouTube
                      Mister YouTube  2 weeks back

                      This reminds me of the world record Michael Johnson pulled in the 200m at the 1996 Olympics where the pace was so insane both him and the 2nd place Canadian broke the then record of 19.68sec. I was there to see that live and it is one of the most amazing feats I ever seen in person.

                      • Mister YouTube
                        Mister YouTube  3 days back

                        @Mark I mistyped there. It was the 200 not the 400.

                      • Mark
                        Mark  3 days back

                        Mister YouTube the current record is 43.03 seconds so 19.68 seconds is insanely impossible

                      • Mister YouTube
                        Mister YouTube  3 days back

                        @Mark I never said it was I said at the time it was broken both MJ and the second place finisher broke the record that was in place and at time it was 19.68sec in 1996.

                      • Mark
                        Mark  3 days back

                        I don’t think the 400m record was 19.68 seconds

                    • Eclipse
                      Eclipse  2 weeks back

                      if you search topics for track-and-field deep rewinds, I'll suggest the European Championships' Women's 4x400m finals in Zurich in 2014, especially the last relay

                      • KAMI IcE
                        KAMI IcE  3 weeks back

                        When the whole video is the same as my mile time

                        • Tyson Reid
                          Tyson Reid  3 weeks back

                          Thats not the fastest mile ever run

                          • Yesman 25
                            Yesman 25  3 weeks back

                            damn i only run a 5:18

                            • Ilyas ADNANE
                              Ilyas ADNANE  3 weeks back

                              Great video

                              • RunFor OurLives
                                RunFor OurLives  3 weeks back

                                Funny how nobody talks about the second fastest mile in history.

                                • Brett Weltz
                                  Brett Weltz  4 weeks back

                                  lol im not even in good shape and i can run a mile in 3mins 50 seconds without being winded and i can do that for 6 miles!!!

                                  • Mark
                                    Mark  3 days back

                                    I am proud

                                • Myname islarry
                                  Myname islarry  4 weeks back


                                  • L W
                                    L W  4 weeks back

                                    Did he say John Paul bachelor

                                    • Lqla
                                      Lqla  4 weeks back

                                      Anyone else skip to the end? Lulz

                                      • Colin Garcia
                                        Colin Garcia  1 months back

                                        I get out of breath just watching this video

                                        • Grifone One
                                          Grifone One  2 months back

                                          bravo hicham ...bravo ....

                                          • Heath Anderson
                                            Heath Anderson  2 months back

                                            doped to the gills.

                                            • samderrida
                                              samderrida  2 months back


                                              • jaime reyes
                                                jaime reyes  2 months back

                                                3:43.5 for 2nd place wow!!!!!!

                                                • mrsticky005
                                                  mrsticky005  2 months back

                                                  Nobody has broken this record in 20 years.

                                                  • mrsticky005
                                                    mrsticky005  2 months back

                                                    "We need to know how he got into this point"

                                                    I assume by running?

                                                    • Kendrick Mott
                                                      Kendrick Mott  6 days back

                                                      How stupid can you get? They clearly climbed out of a hole which took 3 and a half minutes to get through, and ran. God. How do you not know that? Smh

                                                  • Colin Steitz
                                                    Colin Steitz  2 months back

                                                    2008 Brazilian Grand Prix! F1 Championship decided in the last race in the last lap.

                                                    • Loppy2345
                                                      Loppy2345  2 months back

                                                      Interesting that drug testing for EPO was introduced 2000.

                                                      • Jamaa L
                                                        Jamaa L  2 months back

                                                        6:17 anyone know the name of the song playing in the background?

                                                        • Lav Sokratis
                                                          Lav Sokratis  2 months back

                                                          ah yes, el guerrouj, the greatest doper of his generation 💯 💯

                                                          • Liam McLeod
                                                            Liam McLeod  2 months back

                                                            Imagine beat the record from.5 seconds ago and not beating the new one

                                                            • Frank Cabrera
                                                              Frank Cabrera  2 months back

                                                              The 2009 Grey Cup Final Deserves A Deep Rewind

                                                              • Avacado Holick
                                                                Avacado Holick  2 months back

                                                                i ran a mile in 5:43 today. i came here because i feel like a god. 😂

                                                                • Avacado Holick
                                                                  Avacado Holick  1 months back

                                                                  D.j. Hollman thanks i really appreciate it. i’ll sub to you and hopefully you have a good rest of your day!!

                                                                • D.j. Hollman
                                                                  D.j. Hollman  1 months back

                                                                  Only Ava it’s all in the breathing & form. Control your breathing and always driving your knees and pump your arms. You won’t notice that your form is breaking so you have to be mindful and always do that. Don’t exaggerate though, but just know that the back half of your pr time will always need leg drive

                                                                • Avacado Holick
                                                                  Avacado Holick  1 months back

                                                                  D.j. Hollman tysm i keep trying to beat it every day. it’s hard!

                                                                • D.j. Hollman
                                                                  D.j. Hollman  1 months back

                                                                  Only Ava nice!!! Regardless of what anyone tells you, running under a sub 6 is impressive in its own! Not a lot of people can do that. Keep up the work!

                                                              • akm plays
                                                                akm plays  2 months back

                                                                Guys i run a 4:33 1500 as a 8th grader and a 4:56. Is tht good

                                                                • Fine Wine Daily
                                                                  Fine Wine Daily  3 days back

                                                                  I assume you ran those times at track meets, so you obviously know exactly how good those times are.

                                                                • Josep Romero
                                                                  Josep Romero  2 months back


                                                              • Kyle Miller
                                                                Kyle Miller  2 months back

                                                                You have to do Kawhi’s shot next

                                                                • truthsmiles
                                                                  truthsmiles  2 months back

                                                                  We need a wikipedia page listing all the times a WR was "double-broken" like this. Seems like it would have to be a pretty rare occurrence.
                                                                  An interesting discussion would be how to write the rules for qualifying for such a page. After all, the WR wasn't broken twice in this race - only once.

                                                                  • Firebourn94
                                                                    Firebourn94  2 months back

                                                                    Damn puts my 8 minute mile to shame

                                                                    • James Haddow
                                                                      James Haddow  2 months back

                                                                      Can you do Foreman winning the heavyweight title at 45 vs Moorer??

                                                                      • NOYDB
                                                                        NOYDB  2 months back

                                                                        CBC commentary noted in the race

                                                                        • thesurfnate90
                                                                          thesurfnate90  2 months back

                                                                          for those interested... this is Ngeny getting is revenge at the Olympics 1 year later...

                                                                          A teammate of El-G acted as a pacemaker for the race but Ngeny still won

                                                                          • Brotha Jones32
                                                                            Brotha Jones32  2 months back

                                                                            Billy Mills 1964 Olympics 10,000 meter run

                                                                            • moedanglez
                                                                              moedanglez  2 months back

                                                                              Was anyone else worried he was going to fall at the end?

                                                                              • Asian Nooble
                                                                                Asian Nooble  2 months back

                                                                                imo a rewind on El Guerrouj's perfomance in the 2004 olympics would be more interesting but I understand that has been done before by some other tv programs.

                                                                                • Gregory Rowlerson
                                                                                  Gregory Rowlerson  2 months back

                                                                                  Great to see an in-depth video made about Hicham, and one that doesn't focus on the Olympics. In regards to his rivalry with Noah, their 1999 1,500 metres World Championship race in Seville was their best; easily the fastest major championship time for a 1,500 metres ever; that was both athletes at their absolute peak.