Which World Records Could Fall By The End Of 2019?

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With just four Diamond League meets and the World Championships remaining on the 2019 track and field calendar, there are only two to three opportunities per event left to see a world record this season. But with the biggest meets of the year still upcoming, you can be sure that several more records will fall.

Here are the events most likely to produce a new all-time best this season, from improbable to all but assured:

Record Status Category: Say Goodbye

Men’s 400m Hurdles

World Record: 46.78 (August 6, 1992 - Kevin Young)

2019 World Lead: 47.12 (Karsten Warholm)

Outlook: Kevin Young’s 27-year reign atop the men’s 400m hurdles likely comes to end by the 2019 World Championship final at the latest as the Big Three of Abderrahmane Samba (46.98 PB), Rai Benjamin (47.02) and Karsten Warholm (47.12) have each done their best work separately. A race featuring the entire trio is world record lighter fluid.

Women’s 400m Hurdles

World Record: 52.20 (July 28, 2019 - Dalilah Muhammad)

2019 World Lead: 52.20 (Dalilah Muhammad)

Outlook: This is the easiest pick since Dalilah Muhammad set the mark just over two weeks ago at USAs. She and McLaughlin could both eclipse the mark in Doha, and many expect the bar to be set somewhere in the 51s by season’s end.

Record Status Category: Vulnerable

Men’s 400m 

World Record: 43.03 (August 14, 2016 - Wayde van Niekerk)

2019 World Lead: 43.45 (Michael Norman)

Outlook: Wayde van Niekerk’s 43.03 appeared to be in trouble when Michael Norman ran 43.45 in April, but the U.S. star has so far been unable to replicate the magic of his season-opener. But if you believe that peak Norman still has a lot more to give, a sub-43.03 clocking is possible assuming full health for the 21-year-old.

Women’s 100m Hurdles

World Record: 12.20 (July 22, 2016 - Kendra Harrison)

2019 World Lead: 12.32 (Danielle Williams)

Outlook: This one could go as soon as this upcoming Sunday as world leader Danielle Williams and world record holder Keni Harrison match up in Birmingham. Williams’ 12.32 on July 20 was the fastest in over two seasons, while Harrison has run in the 12.2s on two other occasions outside of her 12.20. Her 12.44 into a stiff headwind last month showed she’s ready to dip into that range again.

Record Status Category: Possible

Women’s High Jump

World Record: 2.09m (August 30, 1987 - Stefka Kostadinova)

2019 World Lead: 2.06m (Mariya Lasitskene)

Outlook: Lasitskene took several cracks at 2.10 on June 20 in Ostrava after clearing 2.06m for the second time in her career. Her consistency at 2.00m and above makes the record attainable this season.

Men’s 4x400m

World Record: 2:54.29 (August 22, 1993 - USA)

2019 World Lead: N/A

Outlook: The 2:54.29 4x400m world record has stood so long because the 1993 American quartet featured three of the 10 fastest 400m runners in history. Michael Johnson split 42.94 on his anchor leg for goodness sakes. 

But even though no other team has come within a second of the record, a foursome of Michael Norman, Fred Kerley, Rai Benjamin and Nathan Strother could make it happen this year in Doha. Norman split 43.06 in college in 2018, while Benjamin dropped a 43.52 that same season. We know Kerley can go 43-low given his 43.62 PB, and Strother just ran 44.2 at USAs. This is the biggest threat to the 1993 team yet.

Men’s Decathlon

World Record: 9126 Points (September 16, 2018 - Kevin Mayer)

2019 World Lead: 8711 (Damian Warner)

Outlook: France’s Kevin Mayer set four event PBs to smash the record formerly held by Ashton Eaton by an astonishing 81 points last September. Such a perfect competition occurring twice in two years for Mayer is unlikely, but the 27-year-old looked good in his decathlon tune-up at Talence on June 23 before skipping the final two events.

Women’s Steeplechase

World Record: 8:44.32 (July 20, 2018 - Beatrice Chepkoech)

2019 World Lead: 8:55.58 (Beatrice Chepkoech)

Outlook: This record is at the mercy of its current holder, as Beatrice Chepkoech is the only woman to ever run under 8:50. The Kenyan set off at record pace back in June at the Pre Classic before ultimately settling for an 8:55.58 world lead. The 28-year-old will have two more shots at the mark before Doha if she so desires.

Record Status Category: Improbable

Men’s Pole Vault

World Record: 6.14m (July 31, 1994 - Sergey Bubka)

2019 World Lead: 6.06m (Sam Kendricks)

Outlook: Kendricks’ American record at USAs represented the highest outdoor jump since Sergey Bubka’s 6.14m world record 25 years ago. Kendricks, Mondo Duplantis and Piotr Lisek have all cleared six meters this season, but 6.14m still feels a long way off. Bubka’s record survives another year at least.

Men’s Triple Jump

World Record: 18.29m (August 7, 1995 - Jonathan Edwards)

2019 World Lead: 18.14m (Will Claye)

Outlook: The fact that Edwards’ record has survived the primes of two all-time triple jump greats-- Christian Taylor and Will Claye-- says it is likely to outlive this generation of stars. There is a sliver of hope, however. Claye leaped 18.14 in June, while Taylor owns the second-best mark of all-time (18.21m). 

Men’s 110m Hurdles

World Record: 12.80 (September 7, 2012 - Aries Merritt)

2019 World Lead: 12.98 (Grant Holloway)

Outlook: No one has cracked the 12.9s since 2012 Olympic champion Aries Merritt ran 12.80 seven years ago, but the emergence of young stars Grant Holloway and Daniel Roberts, who have run 12.98 and 13.00 in 2019, respectively, suggests a world record isn’t impossible this year. Plus, reigning world champion Omar McLeod (12.90 PB) is still just 25 years old.

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