11. 10,000 MetersIn a remarkable five-day span in 1993, China’s Wang Junxia set a pair of records that have stood for more than 14 years apiece, in the 3000 and 10,000. On Sept. 8, during the Chinese National Games, Wang slashed 42 seconds off the 10,000-meter record with a time of 29:31.78.
12. SteeplechaseRussia’s Gulnara Samitova-Galkina made the first-ever Olympic women’s steeplechase a memorable race by breaking her own world record, winning in 8:58.81 on Aug. 17, 2008. Her previous mark of 9:01.59 was set in 2004. Samitova-Galkina led the Beijing race from the start, pulling away with three laps remaining and beating runner-up Eunice Jepkorir by 8.6 seconds.
13. 100-Meter HurdlesYordanka Donkova, Bulgaria, 12.21. Donkova first set the 100-meter world record in 1986, then beat her own record twice before losing the mark to fellow Bulgaria native Ginka Zagorcheva in 1987. Donkova earned the record back in 1988 at the Stara Zagora event.
14. 400-Meter HurdlesYuliya Pechonkina, Russia, 52.34. Pechonkina remains a competitive hurdler, though she's battled injuries in recent years. She set the 400-meter record in 2003 when she won the Russian championships, beating American Kim Batten's eight-year-old mark of 52.61.
15. 10,000-Meter Race WalkNadezhda Ryashkina, Russia, 41:56.23
16. 20,000-Meter Race Walk
Elena Lashmanova, Russia, 1:25:02. For much of the 2012 Olympic final, held on Aug. 11, it didn't even look as if Lashmanova would win the race, much less break a world record. Olga Kaniskina led Lashmanova by 43 seconds after 12 kilometers, but Lashmanova gradually reduced the margin. Lashmanova finally strode into the lead in the race's final kilometer to win the gold medal and top Olimpiada Ivanova's former world mark of 1:26:52.
17. MarathonGreat Britain's Paula Radcliffe led from start to finish at the Flora London Marathon on April 13, 2003. She finished almost a mile ahead of her nearest competitor and topped her own world record by close to two minutes, finishing in 2:15.25. She was assisted by male pacesetters, the fastest of whom was targeting a 2:16 time. She had a bit of trouble setting a consistent early pace, running her fastest in the third mile (4:57) and her slowest in mile six (5:22), before settling into her record-shattering pace.
Read more about Paula Radcliffe.
18. 4 x 100-Meter Relay
United States (Tianna Madison, Allyson Felix, Bianca Knight, Carmelita Jeter), 40.82. The U.S. earned a gold medal in the 2012 Olympic final, run on Aug. 10, shattering East Germany's former record of 41.37 seconds. Madison, running the first leg against 2012's 100-meter gold medalist, Jamaica's Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, gave the U.S. a slight lead, and each runner extended the margin further.