Running isn’t all about genetics, but good genes are certainly an asset. Here’s a list of runners who grew up surrounded by running, and whose full-body immersion evidently paid off. In no particular order, here’s the unofficial list of really, really ridiculously fast families.
The brothers from New Zealand are two of the fastest marathoners in the world. Zane and Jake Robertson have both been national record-holders, with Zane eclipsing twin brother Jake’s national record just last weekend at the Gold Coast Marathon. Zane ran his marathon debut in an impressive 2:08:19, seven seconds faster than Jake’s 2:08:26.
If you follow running at all, you’ve heard of the Dibaba sisters of Ethiopia. Tirunesh, Genzebe and Ejegayehu are the only sisters in history to hold concurrent world records and they’ve all snagged Olympic medals.
The power trio that are the Ingebrigtsens of Norway are dominant on the track. Eldest brother Henrik holds a 1,500m personal best of 3:31.46 and was fifth at the Olympics in 2012. Middle brother Filip holds a 1,500m personal best of 3:30.01 and is a World Championships medallist. Jakob, who’s the youngest and nearly the fastest of the three, is the U20 1,500m indoor world record-holder at a 3:36.02, with an outdoor personal best of a shocking 3:30.16.
At age 44, Bernard Lagat shattered yet another American masters record yesterday. The marathoner finished in 2:12:10 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on Sunday morning, breaking Meb Keflezighi’s old record of 2:12:20. He now holds every American masters record from the 1,500m through the marathon–that’s huge range. Lagat is a six-time world championship medallist and a two-time Olympic medallist.
Robert Cheseret is Lagat’s younger brother, a two-time NCAA champion in the 5,000m and 10,000m. Also a member of the Lagat family is youngest sister Violah, who’s got a 1,500m personal best of 4:04.10.
Gabriela Stafford now owns three Canadian records, and her younger sister Lucia will likely own one as well before her career is over. The pair trained together until last year, when Gabriela made the move to Scotland to work with coach Andy Young.
Lucia won a gold medal in the 1,500m at the 2017 Pan American U20 Championships and has run the second-fastest 1,500m time by a Canadian junior.
Brogan MacDougall broke a 34-year-old record on Sunday evening at the London Distance Series Finale, running a 9:08.25 3,000m to take the Canadian U20 record. MacDougall took the record from Brenda Shackleton, who ran a 9:12.39 back in 1985. Both the U20 3,000m and 5,000m Canadian records are now held by MacDougall sisters. Older sister Branna owns the 5,000m record at 15:48.80.
The Japanese brothers are another running powerhouse. Keita is a 1:01 half-marathoner and his brother Yuta ran the fastest marathon ever run in Australia at Sunday’s Gold Coast Marathon, finishing in 2:07:50, almost a minute faster than three-time winner Kenneth Mungara‘s course record of 2:08:42, set in 2015. (Shitara is Japan’s former national marathon record-holder, overtaken by Suguru Osako at last year’s Chicago Marathon.)
Bruny Surin is pretty well known to most Canadians, the sprinter represented Canada at four Olympics and was a member of the Canadian 1996 gold-medal winning relay team. He also holds the Canadian 100m record, tied with Donovan Bailey at 9.84s.
His daughter, Katherine Surin is a 400m runner who ran for the University of Connecticut and owns a personal best of 52.44. She was on the 4x400m team the won nationals in 2015.