The 3000 metres is a track running event (colloquially known as "3k") where 7.5 laps are completed around an outdoor 400 meter track or 15 laps around an indoor track. It is debatable whether the 3000m is classified as a middle distance or long distance event. At the highest level of competition, 3000m pace is more comparable to 5000m pace than to 1500m pace, arguing the case for it being a long distance event. The world record performance for 3000m equates to a pace of 59 seconds per 400m, which is closer to 61 seconds for 5000m than 55 seconds for 1500m. Despite this, the 3000m does require some anaerobic conditioning and the athlete needs to develop a high tolerance to lactic acid, as does the 1500m. Thus, the 3000m demands a balance of aerobic endurance in the 5000m and lactic acid tolerance in the 1500m.
In men's athletics, 3000 metres has been an Olympic discipline only as a team race at the 1912, 1920 and 1924 Summer Olympics. It has not been contested at any of the IAAF outdoor championships. However, it is the longest distance event present at the IAAF World Indoor Championships and is often featured in indoor track and field programmes.
In women's athletics, 3000 metres was a standard event in the Olympic Games (1984, 1988, and 1992) and World Championships. The event was discontinued at World Championship and Olympic level after the 1993 World Championships in Athletics - Qu Yunxia being the final gold medal winner at the event. Starting with the 1995 World Championships in Athletics and the 1996 Olympic Games, it was replaced by 5000 metres, with other IAAF-organized championships following suit.
Elite 3K runners reach speeds near VVO2max, for which the oxygen requirements of the body cannot continuously be satisfied, requiring some anaerobic effort.