Given the increasing popularity of 50km road races, the decision to add the distance to the list of events for which world records are recognised was made at the 225th World Athletics Council meeting in Tokyo in July 2021.
The best legitimate performances as at 1 January 2022 – provided they met the minimum standards of 2:43:38 for men, 2:59:54 for women in a mixed race and 3:07:20 for a woman in a women-only race – were eligible for record ratification.
As a result, the 2:42:07 recorded by Negasa and the 3:04:24 run by Van Zyl, both in Port Elizabeth in May, plus the 2:59:54 achieved by Linden in a mixed race in Oregon in April, have now been ratified as world 50km records.
Irvette Van Zyl took three minutes off the previous mark held by Briton Aly Dixon, finishing in a time of 3:04:23 during the Nedbank Runified Breaking Barriers 50K in Gqeberha on 23 May 2021.
She was followed home by Lilian Jepkorir Chemweno of Kenya and Dominika Stelmach of Poland.
Negasa broke the previous best of 2:43:20 set by Thompson Magawana in 1988 ahead of South African runners Jonas Makhele and Ntsindiso Mphakathi.
Linden’s performance came at the Brooks Running 50km & Marathon on 13 April 2021, when she became the first woman to run 50km in under three hours.
Women’s world 50km record (mixed race)
2:59:54 Desiree Linden (USA) Dorena Lake, USA 13 April 2021
Men’s world 50km record
2:42:07 Ketema Negasa (ETH) Port Elizabeth, RSA 23 May 2021
Women’s world 50km record (women-only race)
3:04:24 Irvette van Zyl (RSA) Port Elizabeth, RSA 23 May 2021