Sifan Hassan is one of the most popular athletes with our global audience on RunBlogRun! I have been fortunate to see Sifan Hassan since 2014 in all of her major races! 

In 2015, in Monaco, I watched Sifan’s meltdown after Genzebe Dibaba ran WR in 1,500m and beat Sifan by six seconds. Sifan was dumbfounded. Over the next few years, Sifan built her fitness, her focus, and her confidence. 

In 2019, she was tough, but by 2021 in Tokyo, she was amazing. 

For this writer, watching Sifan Hassan run marathons and come back from her fall in the 10,000m in Budapest. It was so inspiring, but also, it was like, Sifan falls, she gets up and races 1,500m the next day and 5,000m the day after.

Her Chicago race was amazing, a 213.44 ER, but her presser afterward was superb! 

Sifan Hassan is a class act. Special thanks to Deji Ogeyingbo for this piece! 

Sifan Hassan finds joy in the marathon amidst uncertainty on the track.


Very few athletes in the athletics scene know how to steer up conversations during a major athletics tournament the way Sifan Hassan does. It comes up in a good way for the most part. Whether it is entering three middle/long distance events or falling down a few meters to the end of the race, the Dutch runner knows how to enthrall her fans.

Versatility in distance running isn’t a new thing. In recent times, athletes have transitioned early into road running having made a name for themselves as good middle-distance runners. Mo Farah, Kenenisa Bekele, and Eliud Kipchoge are some of the few runners who have made a name for themselves on the track and road. It’s a difficult blend to achieve and while some do one after the other, very few do them simultaneously.

Sifan Hassan takes the 2023 TCS London Marathon
London, England, United Kingdom
April 23, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris


One such athlete who has mixed and matched both events is Hassan. The Dutch sensation continues to make her mark as a world-class middle-distance runner, but in recent months shocked the world by excelling in marathons. Her ability to seamlessly transition from middle-distance races to the 26.2-mile event is a testament to her exceptional talent and remarkable work ethic. But it has come at a price. Hassan isn’t getting her maximum out of herself in the middle-distance races.

Faith Kipyegon battles with Sifan Hassan over 5,000m, World Athletics Championships
Budapest, Hungary
August 19-27, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

Hassan’s journey to becoming one of the most versatile athletes on the planet began with her dominance in middle-distance events. Her name became synonymous with the 1500m, mile, and more recently, the 5000m and 10000m where she consistently vied for medals on the global stage. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics was where Hassan pushed beyond her limit, winning two Golds in the 5000m and 10000m and a Bronze in the 1500m.

It certainly took a toll on her, and to be fair, the number of miles she would have covered to achieve such a milestone has a way of telling in the future eventually. It did in 2022 when she missed out on a medal over the 5000m and 10000m. That was the first sign of cracks in the wall. Her major rivals like Faith Kipyegon, Letesenbet Gidey, and Gudaf Tsegay were the dominant athletes on the grid.

Sifan Hassan, Doha 2019, photo by World Athletics

Hassan made a big comeback in 2023 as she announced her marathon debut in London. The Dutch runner went to London just hoping to complete the race as the two-time world champion made the step up from the track. She ended up winning in 2:18:33, a time that saw her defeat the Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir and Ethiopia’s Alemu Megertu in an astonishing sprint finish.

Sifan Hassan, TCS London Marathon
London, England, United Kingdom
April 23, 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

At the World Championships in Budapest, Hassan could only come away with a Bronze in the 1500m and a Silver in the 5000m. That was after she had fallen with about 30m to go and victory in her sights in the 10000m final. Hassan shrugged it off to bounce back and win the Chicago marathon in October in a much-improved time of 2:13:44.

Sifan Hassan en route to racing 2:13.44 (she’s in the NIKE AlphaFly3, available to consumers in early 2024, photo by Kevin Morris

What has set Hassan apart is not only her versatility but also her relentless drive. Her dedication to her craft is evident in the remarkable mileage she has covered in 2023. The transition from middle-distance races to marathons is no small feat, but Hassan embraced the challenge.

When we look at the total miles Hassan has run in 2023 across all her events, it’s truly staggering. The middle-distance races alone require rigorous training and a substantial volume of miles to build the necessary endurance and speed. To top it off, Hassan’s marathon training added a new layer of distance running to her regimen. Her ability to seamlessly switch between these varying distances is awe-inspiring.

The happy warrior, Sifan Hassan, Emily Sisson, Chicago Marathon 2023,
photo by Kevin Morris

While some may question the wisdom of competing in marathons and middle-distance events within the same year, Hassan has proven that she can excel in both worlds. Her performances in the marathon indicate that she has the potential to disrupt the traditional hierarchy of the event. As she continues to refine her marathon technique and strategy, she may emerge as a genuine contender for major marathon titles in the future.

While Hassan’s shuffling of various events has made the likes of Kipyegon and Tsegay have a slight edge above her in the middle distances, the Dutch runner seems to be caught between a rock and a hard place. At the moment the other part revolves around her relentless pursuit of success on the track. With a string of accomplishments, including multiple European records and championship titles, she remains one of the world’s premier middle-distance runners.

Sifan Hassan, Chicago Marathon 2023, photo by Kevin Morris

As the world turns its attention to the Paris 2024 Olympics, Hassan’s name looms large on the track and on the roads. Her track events and the marathon are all events in which she could potentially shine. Defending her titles and vying for new ones will be a formidable challenge, especially given her busy schedule and her age. At 31, she is poised to prove that age is but a number.

Hassan’s journey is a testament to the limitless potential of an athlete who dares to dream and pushes the boundaries of what is possible. Although her remarkable transition from middle-distance to marathon runner seemed to have cast a shadow of doubt on how good she can still get on the track, it however leaves her in limbo on what to focus on.

Sifan Hassan, qualifying in London 2017 heats, photo by Mike Deering / The Shoe Addicts