The 440-yard dash, or quarter-mile race, is a sprint race in track and field competitions.

In many countries, athletes compete in the 440 yard dash (402.336 m) – which corresponds to a quarter mile. Many athletic tracks are 440 yards per lap. In the 19th century it was thought of as a middle distance race.[1]

World-record holder Lon Meyers (1858–1899) was the first person to run the 440 in under 50 seconds.[1][2] In 1947, Herb McKenley of Jamaica set a world record in the event with a time of 46.3 seconds, which he lowered the following year to a new world record of 46.0 seconds.[3] Adolph Plummer took the record under 45 seconds with a 44.9 on May 25, 1963. In 1971, John Smith lowered the world record to 44.5 seconds, which remains the world record.[4]

The 440 yard race distance used imperial measurements, which have been replaced by metric-distance races. The 400 metres (400 meter or 400 m race) is the successor to the 440 yard dash.[5] An athlete who competes in the 400 m may still be referred to as 'quarter-miler' though this rounded, metric distance is 2 1/3 meters shorter than a full 440-yard (quarter mile) race.[6]


  1. ^ a b Robert Crego (2003). Sports and games of the 18th and 19th centuries. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 121. Retrieved November 12, 2011. 440 yard dash sprint race.
  2. ^ "Lon Myers". Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  3. ^ Litsky, Frank (November 28, 2007). "Herb McKenley, 85, Top Jamaican Runner, Is Dead". New York Times. Jamaica. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  4. ^ Crumpacker, John (May 5, 2006). "Modesto 400 field - a blast from the past?". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  5. ^ "400 m Introduction". IAAF. Archived from the original on May 23, 2008.
  6. ^ Gonzales, Jermaine (February 8, 2012). "Jermaine Gonzales: life at the Racers Track club is tougher than ever". The Guardian. London.