The 10,000 metres at the World Championships in Athletics has been contested by men since the inaugural edition in 1983 and by women since the subsequent edition in 1987. It is the second most prestigious title in the discipline after the 10,000 metres at the Olympics. The competition format is a straight final with typically between twenty and thirty participants. Before 1999, the event had two qualifying heats leading to a final.
Haile Gebrselassie is the most successful athlete of the event with four gold medals and also a silver and a bronze, spanning a period from 1993 to 2003. His Ethiopian compatriot Kenenisa Bekele matched his feat of four consecutive titles in 2009. Tirunesh Dibaba is the most successful woman, with three gold medals to her name.
Ethiopia is by far the most successful nation in the discipline, with fifteen gold medals and 33 medals in total. Kenya is comfortably the next most successful with seven gold and 25 medals overall. Great Britain is the only other nation to have won multiple gold medals, with two in the men's and one in the women's division.
Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey became the first athlete to be disqualified from the World Championships 10,000 m for doping. This ban came retrospectively as a 2015 retest of a frozen sample of urine from the 2007 World Championships in Athletics showed the presence of a banned substance. She will be stripped of her silver medal once the doping procedure has concluded.
No other competitors have been banned from the event for doping. Outside of the competition, the 2003 women's bronze medallist Sun Yingjie was banned for doping in 2005.
Note: Following medal completion of medal reassignment of Elvan Abeyelegesse's 2007 silver, Turkey will have no medals, Kara Goucher of the United States will be elevated from bronze to silver, and Jo Pavey of Great Britain will be elevated to bronze (bringing her country's medal total to three).
Championship record progression
Men's 10,000 metres World Championships record progression