In a spectacular climax to a great evening of athletic action in Florence, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon just broke the world record at the Rome Diamond League meeting for the women’s 1500m event. She ran a new astonishing world record of 3:49.11, beating the previous one of 3:50.07 set by Genzebe Dibaba in 2015.
During the race, Kipyegon had settled in third just behind the pacemakers, Brooke Feldmeier and Sage Hurta-Klecker, who went through 400m in 1:02.37 and through 800m in 2:04.00. Laura Muir was at the back of Kipyegon before the gap between them continued to grow.
In a solo run at the front, Kipyegon was almost at par with the wave lights as she came to the bell, and was clearly ahead with about 200m to go. It was clear she had the world record as she powered toward the finish line on the home stretch. She crossed the finish in the first sub 3:50 minutes for the distance as she fell to the ground in celebration. Muir followed for second place in 3:57.09 ahead of Australia’s Jessica Hull, who registered a new national record and a personal best time of 3:57.29.
The world-leading times in the other distance races in the evening could have hinted at the imminent world record.
In a thrilling women’s 3000m steeplechase race, Ethiopia’s Almayew produced a strong finish in the last lap to win the race in a new meeting record, world-leading, and personal best time of 9:00.71. Jackline Chepkoech outsprinted Zerfe Wondemagegn on the home straight to finish second in 9:04.07 against Wondemagnegn’s 9:04.61.
The first 1000m was crossed in 2:57.79, and the second 2000m was at 6:02.13 by the front-running Beatrice Chepkoech, which was an indication that perhaps the pace making by Fancy Cherono might have been a bit too fast at the start for the field.
Jackline Chepkoech took over the front-running, but the two Ethiopians who had hung at her back, Sembo Almayew and Zerfe Wondemagegn, overtook her as they came to the bell.
Mohamed Katir, in a 54.65 last lap, won the competitive –perhaps the most competitive race of the evening- men’s 5000m race in a world-leading time of 12:52.09 ahead of Yomif Kejelcha (12:52.12), and Luis Grijalva who registered a new national record of 12:52.97 for Guatemala.
The first 1000m crossed in 2:35.13 by Paul Robinson, the pacesetter, did not seem to affect the loaded men’s 5000m race. They all remained in a huge pack together past the 3000m mark.
With about three laps to go, there was jostling as Telahun Bekele made a move at the front, and the real battle for victory began. It was still a huge pack that forced Kejelcha and Cheptegei to run on lane three as they struggled to get to the front. Katir held on to the lead despite pressure from Kejelcha in the last 100m.
It was an amazing race that saw all the top 13 runners in the field go under 13 minutes.