Previous studies have indicated the relative importance of not only cardiovascular-réspiratory function but physical dimensions and body composition as factors involved in success in distance running. A total of 114 Japanese young, middle- and long-distance runners (age = 19 X 0 +/- 1 X 7 yr) served as subjects. Anthropometric characteristics were assessed before the measurement of VO2max (open circuit method) and Qmax (CO2 rebreathing method). Among many anthropometric variables, chest girth, upper leg length and thigh girth were best related to performances over 800, 1500 and 5000 metres, while upper arm girth, the Rohrer Index, and the Ponderal Index represented the 10000m performance. As a result of factor analysis and the multiple regression analysis, three factors (i.e., linearity of physique, girth of physique, and subcutaneous fat) were extracted, and the first two factors were nearly equally related to the 800m, and 1500m and 5000m performances. The 10000m, however, was best accounted for by the second factor. Approximately 20-40% of the variance in the performances was explained by three anthropometric variables. VO2max and Qmax, combined in a linear model, also accounted for approximately 20-40% of the variance in the performances. We conclude that anthropometric attributes would predict the distance running performance to about the same degree as physiological attributes. This may be partly attributed to the homogeneity of the present subjects in terms of their running abilities.