Okay, in two weeks I'll run an 8K race here in Atlanta. One of the reasons why I chose the race is that I never heard of an 8K race previously and thought it would be unique for me to run it. Curiosity got the best of me and I was searching for the history of the 8K race distance and could not find an answer.
So you veteran runners and T&F buffs, tell me about the origins of the 8K race and any other cool trivia stuff regarding it.
“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” - T.S. Eliot
Has Broken Parts
All I know is that 8K is about 5 miles and I run one every December.
"Address the process rather than the outcome. Then, the outcome becomes more likely." - Robert Fripp
As far as I can remember 8k races were non-existent prior to the switch to metric distances back in the 70s. At that time 3-mile races were changed to 5k, 6-mile races to 10K, and the obvious change for 5-mile races was to 8k. The only race distances that weren't actually changed were the mile, the marathon, its derivative the half-marathon, and most 10-mile races. A few 10-mile races were changed to half-marathons because of its growing popularity.
2014 Goals: Run first trail ultra, first 100K, and see what I can do in a 24-Hour race
Thanks WCR - I knew some of the long time experienced runners could give me the history.
Dad of a real runner
8K is also used as one of the standards at the college level for cross country. It's a step up from the 5K in high school, but not quite to the 10K that is used in the conference meets at the end of the season.
SB - thanks. I did not know.
8k may also be the distance that a trail race happens to end up being - just the distance the trail is between start at end. At least the race that I did was that way (actually, I think it was announced as 6k, but their garmin missed a few segments in tunnels)
Again that was a conversion from 5-miles. When I was an undergrad, many college xc races were 4-miles, at least in the mid-west. When I moved east I found that 5-miles was the standard. BTW collegiate women run 6k at the championship level and 5k or 6k in other meets, quite a change from when the longest they were allowed to run was 800m in track and 2-miles in xc.
Squidward Bike Rider
Not to derail the thread, but 8K comes out to 4.97097 miles (yes, I'm a nerd). I recently ran an 8K race (my first one ever), but they posted my pace based on 5 miles. So, which is it, 8K or a 5-miler?
Oddly, both the "mega" races in Buffalo are 8K. Here's a little history blurb on the bigger and much older of the two - like George mentioned, originated as 5 miles.
If it was promoted and marked as an 8K then it was an 8K (although, an 8K race won't actually be 8000m unless it's on a track). Sounds like they just messed up with the calculation of the pace.
In the words of my late-coach : Just hang in there, relax... and at the end of a race anyone you see.....just pass them