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Rudolf Harbig

Rudolf Harbig

German middle distance runner
Rudolf Harbig
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro German middle distance runner
Was Runner Athlete Middle-distance runner Sprinter
From Germany
Type Sports
Gender male
Birth 8 November 1913, Dresden
Death 5 March 1944, Kropyvnytskyi (aged 30 years)
The details (from wikipedia)


Rudolf ("Rudi") Harbig (8 November 1913 – 5 March 1944) was a German middle distance runner best known for the 800 metres world record that he set in Milan in 1939.


Harbig was born in Dresden. He started running in 1934 and was a member of the bronze-medal-winning German 4x400 m relay team at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Two years later he defeated his long-time rival Mario Lanzi from Italy at the 1938 European Championships in Athletics in Paris over 800 m in a time of 1:50.6 min. At the same championships he won the gold medal with the German 4x400 m relay team.

In the same summer the British runner Sydney Wooderson set a remarkable new world record over 800 m at 1:48.4 min. When, in 1939, Harbig set a new national record of 1:49.4 he knew that the world record was not an unrealistic prospect. However, in the same season, Mario Lanzi ran a time of 1:49.5 in Pisa. The two rivals met in Milan in July for a much-celebrated race over 800 m on a 500 m-track. In his usual manner Lanzi took the lead and was still in front on the final bend. However, at the start of the 125 m-home-straight Harbig overtook him with an astonishing sprint. He finished with a new world record of 1:46.6 min. Lanzi, behind him, set a new Italian record of 1:49.0. In the following years Harbig's time turned out to be a very hard record to break. Even track legends Arthur Wint and Mal Whitfield could not threaten it. Finally, in August 1955 the Belgian runner Roger Moens set a new world record of 1:45.7.

Also, in 1939 Harbig set a world record over 400 m on a 500 m-track in Frankfurt in 46.0 sec. In Dresden in 1941 he set a world record over 1000 m in 2:21.5. In the Second World War Harbig was sent to the Eastern Front and died in Ukraine in 1944. Holding the rank of Feldwebel (Sergeant) at the time he served in Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 6 under the command of Hauptmann (Captain) Friedrich August von der Heydte as a platoon leader.

Preceded by
United Kingdom Sydney Wooderson
Men's 800 metres World Record Holder
15 June 1939 – 3 August 1955
Succeeded by
Belgium Roger Moens
Preceded by
United Kingdom Godfrey Brown
European Record Holder Men's 400m
12 August 1939 - 24 June 1955
Succeeded by
Soviet Union Ardalion Ignatyev
Preceded by
United Kingdom Sydney Wooderson
European Record Holder Men's 800m
17 July 1939 - 2 August 1955
Succeeded by
Belgium Roger Moens

The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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