|First under 5:00: 4:59.6 Diane
Leather GBR 1954
First official world record: 4:37.0 Anne Smith GBR 1967
First under 4:30: 4:29.5 Paola Pigni ITA 1973
First under 4:20: 4:18.08 Mary Slaney USA 1982
4:17.44 Maricica Puica ROM 1982
4:16.71 Mary Slaney 1985
4:15.61 Paula Ivan ROM 1989
4:12.56 Svetlana Masterkova RUS 1996
Most durable world best: 5:15.3 Evelyne Foster GBR 1939 (12
Three all time greats
Mary Slaney (USA): Set three world records, including the first sub-4:20 clocking
in 1982. She scored a memorable double at 1500m and 3000m in the inaugural IAAF World
Championships of 1983.
Ivan (ROM): World record holder from 1989 to 1996 with 4:15.61, she won the 1500m
and was second at 3000m in the 1988 Olympic Games. After several years in retirement she
returned to international competition in 2000 aged 37.
Masterkova (RUS): The year after giving birth to a daughter, she produced a
momentous 1996 season which included a world mile record of 4:12.56 (in her debut at the
event) shortly after an Olympic 800m/1500m double in Atlanta.