Shortest and Fastest World Records: 50 meter and 50 Yards

With all the talk about Football’s 40 yard dash, Basketball’s 75 feet 3/4 court sprint, and Baseball’s 60 yard dash, let’s take a look at some obscure world record or world best SHORT racing distances.

Swimming has their version of the 50 meter “splash and dash”.

Here are the world records or world best for the shortest known distances less than 100 meters.


  1. 50 yards — Stanley Floyd, United States, 5.22, Jan. 22, 1982.
  2. 50 meters — Donovan Bailey, Canada, 5.56, Feb. 9, 1996
  3. 60 yards — Lee McRae, United States, 6.00, March 14, 1986.
  4. 60 meters — Maurice Greene, United States, 6.39, Feb. 3, 1998.

One of my earliest memories of the 50 yard dash was Kirk Clayton’s 5.0 (5.24 FAT) in 1970.   Clayton was one of Bud Winter’s Speed City prodigies.  That mark was eclipsed by Stanley Floyd’s 5.22.  50 yards = 45.72 meters.  Now that is short!

On another note, Donovan Bailey was not noted to be a good starter, yet he holds the WR for 50m!  Rumour has it he was accused of a flying start that was not called back.

What would Usain Bolt Run for 50 meters and 50 Yards?

Take a look at 10 meter split times:

Fun With Numbers

It is obvious today’s sprinters are faster and stronger with better spikes and harder tracks.

If Usain Bolt is ever going to hold 11 world record simultaneously, he’ll need to run obscure race distances, such as the 50 meter and 60 meter indoors.  Based on his splits from Beijing 2008 and Berlin 2009, he would certainly be under the listed world records should he run indoors.  The only requirement would be extra large and extra tall crash mats.

In fast, he could run a 60m and set up 4 independent timing systems to get 4 WR all at once.  Now that’s a promoter’s dream.

Based on past splits, BOLT would demolish all 4 WR in a single race: the 50 yards, 50 meters, 60 yards, 60 meters with times of 5.11, 5.47, 5.87 and 6.29 respectively.

Jimson Lee

Jimson Lee

Coach & Founder at
I am a Masters Athlete and Coach currently based in London UK. My other projects include the Bud Winter Foundation, writer for the IAAF New Studies in Athletics Journal (NSA) and a member of the Track & Field Writers of America.
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
Jimson Lee
  • I only got one chance to compete at University of Rochester (NY state), but I raced a 45 meter dash in an open meet during grad school. I believe I ran 5.5 hand-time. While a GA at Alfred University (also in NY state) in the 90s, I came across records for their indoor facility – a wooden 111 meter, 3 lane banked surface. The indoor track was still used for practice in the 90s, but meets ceased there before I got there. The straightaway dash was 35 or 40 meters. I think they even had a hurdle record indoors. I don’t recall what any of those records were, but that has to be some of the shortest races ever contested at a track meet.

  • Ben Johnson ran 5.15 in 1988, disallowed now of course, but a good foot note nevertheless

    Obadele Thompson has the fastest 55m at 5.99A (Colorado Springs, 1997), faster than the 60yd record albeit being a tad longer in distance

  • We have to remember as well that Bolt’s 09 splits were done with a tailwind(+0.9), whereas Maurice Greene’s splits(which come second best to Bolt’s) were done with a 0.3 headwind. I would think Bolt’s 08 splits would be a bit more legitimate, since those were ran in still wind, the conditions that would mimic indoor conditions. So in essence, wouldn’t it be that Mo Greene and Bolt more than likely have a tie in at least three of those short dashes? I realize the none of the times were converted, but I would think that it would in fact make a distinction.

  • Herschel Walker ran a 5.29 at, I think, the same meet as Floyd’s 5.22. Brown was 2nd, Walker 3rd and Houston McTear 4th…all with the time of 5.29.

    • At Southwood JR high school So.SanFrancisco The Fastest time I have ever seen for the 50 yard was in the spring of 1976.. 5.0 seconds which was ran a 2nd time of 5.1 and a third time of 5.0 to prove it was real and broke an old record of 5.5 held for many years there were many witnesses that day. Posted on the high above large school sports board in the locker room. The shame of it all was when I went back after I served in the military to see my exceptional feat it was all gone to an adult school no longer a sports facility

  • Wow If I only knew then what I know now,
    I ran track in Wilbur Wright junior high school in 1971 at a meet and was clocked at 6.9 seconds
    the 50 yard dash. I went home soon after my race and came back the next day to a first place trophy.
    Then ran track in High School but did not take it seriously.
    If I only knew then what I know now of how fast I really was and had more encouragement by my coaches and family who knows what I would have accomplished in my life!

    If you are doing well at something in life, stop that parent or person who is holding you back for you may find out you have more potential than you knew! Carolyn M. Scheinoha-Demers

  • I ran a 5.48 50(-?)yard dash as a senior (I think I was a senior) in high school. This was self-timed and run on a sidewalk in gym (tennis) shoes. Self-timing is the equivalent (I believe) of perfectly timing the starting gun in a conventional race. Whatever the case, I cold scoot back then, baby! YESSSSSSSSSSSS!!!