The 10,000m is run over 25 laps of the track. Athletes start from a standing position, not in lanes, but behind an arc that ensures that every athlete is the same distance from the finish. On starting, athletes may move towards the inside lane straightaway.
The 10,000m is run as a straight final, with all athletes competing in one race.
Keys to success
Long distance athletes need immense stamina and mental strength. Races are incredibly tactical, with pace and positioning of vital importance. Despite the distance, sprint finishes are common and a winning athlete in the 10,000m, having already run 24 laps of the track, often needs enough strength to run the last lap flat out.
Breaking the rules
Although rare, it is still possible for an athlete to be disqualified for a false start in long distance races. Once athletes have broken from the start and are running as close as possible to the inside of the track, the potential for jostling and obstruction is greater. The race judges are on the lookout for any athlete they perceive to be infringing the rules.
Find out more about Men’s 10,000m and Women's 10,000m competitions at the Olympic Games on the International Olympic Committee website.