The women's 1,500m world record will never be beaten unless athletes cheat nature, a Midland academic has claimed.
Professor Alan Nevill, from the University of Wolverhampton, claims in a new study that many athletics records are close to the maximum level of performance, thus times are reaching their peaks.
Prof Nevill wrote his paper, entitled Are There Limits To Running World Records?, following a series of articles in Nature claiming that women would one day run faster than men and that there were no limits to human performance.
For his paper Prof Nevill studied the men's 800m, 1,500m, mile, 5,000m, 10,000m, and marathon, and the women's 800m and 1,500m and employed different methodology to analyse results and predict future performance.
According to the research, Kelly Holmes, the double-Olympic gold medallist at the Athens Olympics was more than seven seconds off the world record, set by Tatyana Kazankina in Beijing in 1993, of 3:50.46.
Before 1993, the women's 1,500m had been 3:52.47 and had stood for thirteen years.
Prof Neville claims this means that it is physically and statistically impossible to break the record.
He said:"For the first time we have identified that there could be a limit to performance and that world records will not continue to rise.
"Many of the established men and women's middle and long distance running records are already nearing their limits.
"The results, of course, assume that athletes in the future do not benefit from scientific engineering or drug use.
"However, I cannot see the current women's 1,500m record ever being broken unless human beings have fundamental changes to their genetic structure."