When women race, there are a few options for bottom-half attire, but most women opt for briefs. However, when it comes to men’s racing, bottoms come in several varieties. For a long time, Team Split Shorts reigned supreme, but recently, Team Half-Tights is making a resurgence. Joshua Cheptegei’s world record 5,000m performance last Friday was run in half-tights, overtaking Kenenisa Bekele’s world record, which was run in split shorts. Due to this interesting bottom-half development, we’ve decided to take a look at what people were wearing when they ran current world records – and the results are shocking. Split shorts still reign supreme and are responsible for four of seven distance world records, despite the fact that half-tights seem more aerodynamic.
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David Rudisha, 800m world record-holder – half-tights wearer
In the 800m, it’s very common to wear half-tights, as it’s the shortest of the distance events (and it’s rare for sprinters to wear split shorts).
Hicham El Guerrouj, 1,500m world record-holder – split shorts wearer
El Guerrouj was a devoted split shorts wearer, almost never seen in half tights – especially when running a world record.
Saif Saaeed Shaheen, 3,000m steeplechase world record-holder – split shorts wearer
Shaheen, steeplechase phenom, also a split shorts man.
Joshua Cheptegei, 5,000m world record-holder – half-tights wearer
Cheptegei broke Bekele’s 5,000m world record by two seconds on Friday. Was it the super aerodynamic shorts? We’ll never know (but it’s not out of the question).
Kenenisa Bekele, 10,000m world record-holder – split shorts wearer
Bekele’s 10,000m world record still stands. He wore split shorts for this run, as he did for the 5,000m.
Geoffrey Kamworor, half-marathon world record-holder – split shorts wearer
This one is actually a little surprising, as Kamworor is typically a half-tights wearer. But on this particular world-record-running day, he opted for a pair of splitties.
Eliud Kipchoge, marathon world record-holder – half-tights wearer
And then there’s Kipchoge, a split shorts wearer (typically) who opted for the half-tight to run Breaking2 in 2017, as well as his marathon world record in 2018. He chose half-tights again in 2019 when he become the first person to run under two hours for the marathon.