A group of amateur runners in a long-distance race in Switzerland
Long-distance running, or endurance running, is a form of continuous running over distances of at least 3 km (1.9 mi). Physiologically, it is largely aerobic in nature and requires stamina as well as mental strength.
In the sport of athletics, long-distance events are defined as races covering 3 km (1.9 mi) and above. The three most common types are track running, road running and cross country running, all of which are defined by their terrain – all-weather tracks, roads and natural terrain, respectively. Typical long-distance track races range from 3000 metres (1.87 miles) to 10,000 metres (6.2 miles), cross country races usually cover 5 to 12 km (3 to 7½ miles), while road races can be significantly longer, reaching 100 km (62 mi) and beyond. In collegiate cross country races in the United States, men race 8,000 or 10,000 meters, depending on their division, whereas women race 6,000 meters. The Summer Olympics features four long-distance running events: the 3000 metres steeplechase (which also involves jumping over barriers and water), the 5000 metres, 10,000 metres and marathon (42.195 kilometres, or 26 miles and 385 yards). Since the late 1980s, Kenyans, Moroccans, and Ethiopians have dominated in major international long-distance competitions. The high altitude of these countries has been proven to help these runners achieve more success. High altitude, combined with endurance training, can lead to an increase in red blood cells, allowing increased oxygen delivery via arteries. The majority of these East African successful runners come from three mountain districts that run along the Great Rift Valley. (Full article...)