Justin Lagat, RunBlogRun’s senior writer in Kenya, sent us his top 5 moments of 2023 in global athletics.
2023 has been such a great year for athletics, with three world championships. The World Cross Country Championships happened in March in Bathurst, Australia. In August, the biggest of them all, the World Athletics Championships, took place in Budapest, Hungary. After that, the inaugural World Road Running Championships happened on the 1st of October in Riga.
All the action there, coupled with the usual Diamond League and Continental Tours meets, the WMMajors, and other high-profile road races, make it hard to remember all the greatest moments this year.
However, here are my top moments to remember from such a wonderful year.
1. Femke Bol anchoring Netherlands’s 4 x 400m women’s team to win the gold medal on Budapest’s last day of the World Championships.
Femke Bol, photo by Kevin Morris
It was like a scene from a movie. With less than 100m to go, Bol was somewhere in third place, out of the camera lenses, then with almost 50m to go, she appeared. There was little hope she could still get the silver medal, but she gathered more strength and surprised everyone by overtaking Great Britain’s Nicole Yeargin and Jamaica’s Stacy Ann Williams just before crossing the finish line in a world-leading 3:20.72. This was a perfect consolation for her after she had fallen in the 4 x 400m mixed relay while she led with just a few meters to the finish line.
2. Letesenbet Gidey’s fall with less than 200m to go at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.
Letensebet Gidey fell with 30 meters to go, a coach and athlete tried to assist her, but she is seen here seeming to refuse the help, photo by Steven Christo for World Athletics.
The saying, it is not yet over until it is over, was well illustrated in the women’s senior race in Bathurst when it appeared Ethiopia’s Gidey had secured the win while she approached the finish line at the lead. But then she suddenly began to slow down. Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet, who was running some meters behind her, noticed it and quickened her strides to catch up with her. As soon as the two were almost parallel, Gidey staggered and fell. An Ethiopian official rushed to help her back on her feet, resulting in her being disqualified.
3. Sha’Carri Richardson anchoring the US 4 x100m women’s team to win gold in Budapest and crushing into Noah Lyles’s arms.
Women’s 4x100m relay, World Athletics Championships
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris
Lyles and Richardson won the hearts of many sprint fans in Budapest, with Lyles winning three gold medals and Richardson winning two. The 4 x 100m relays were their last races at the Championships, and they ended their outing in style. After Richardson crossed the finish line, their male counterparts had also just won the men’s race, and the two teams joined each other in celebration.
4. Faith Kipyegon’s world record run in Florence
Faith Kipyegon becomes first woman uner 3:50 at 1,500m with 3:49.11 WR at Florence DL, photo by Diamond League AG /Matthew Quine
Kipyegon ran three world records this year, but the 1500m race in Florence stands out the most. It was the only feat remaining for her to officially become the greatest 1500m runner of all time. In a spectacular show of talent, Kipyegon lowered the world record for the first time to under 3:50.00 as she registered 3:49.11 on the clock.
5. Kelvin Kiptum’s world record run in Chicago
Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum took the men’s marathon world record to another territory when he ran 2:00:35 in The Windy City. The previous world record of 2:01:09 was being held by his countryman, Eliud Kipchoge, who had been unanimously accepted as the king of the marathon distance until Kiptum staged the coup.
Kelvin Kiptum breaks WR in Men’s marathon in 2:00.35, photo by Kevin Morris