2023 Diamond League: Florence

Faith Kipyegon Breaks 1500m World Record In Florence

Faith Kipyegon Breaks 1500m World Record In Florence

Faith Kipyegon of Kenya ran 3:49.11 to break the world record in the women's 1500m

Jun 2, 2023 by Kevin Sully
Faith Kipyegon Breaks 1500m World Record In Florence

The greatest women’s 1500m runner in history is now the fastest. 

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, twice the Olympic champion and twice a world champion at the event, ran 3:49.11 at the Florence Diamond League. The previous record had stood since 2015, Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07. Kipyegon had close calls with history in the past, most recently her 3:50.37 at the 2022 Monaco Diamond League. . 

On Friday, Kipyegon followed the pacemakers through an electric first 800 meters of 2:04 (62.37 and 61.63 seconds). In the third lap though, it became clear that the record was very much a reality. 

Kipyegon was in line with (or slightly ahead) of the wavelights on the track that were marking 3:50 pace. Her third lap of 61.28 put her completely by herself as she chased the world record. 

She needed around a 60-second final lap to get the record and with 200 meters remaining there was little doubt she could do it. Her final lap was a stunning 58.81 seconds as she put her hands to her face in disbelief after she crossed the line.

Kipyegon now has two of the three fastest times in history.

"I didn't expect to run a world record," Kipyegon said. "That came as a surprise."

"I was just focusing myself toward that finish line."

Laura Muir ran 3:57.09 for second place, while Jessica Hull broke the Oceanian record with a time of 3:57.29.

Historically Deep Men’s 5000m Goes To Mo Katir

The much anticipated men’s 5000m produced a championship-style race with a huge pack of the best men in the world in contention at the bell. 

Ultimately, Spain’s Mo Katir closed in 54 seconds to get the win in 12:52.09. Katir’s kick was too much for Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia who had to settle for second place, just three hundredths behind Katir. Luis Grijalva was rewarded for some mid-race leading, turning in a Guatemalan record of 12:52.97 and victories over world record holder Joshua Cheptegei and U.S. champions Joe Klecker, Woody Kincaid and Grant Fisher. 

The projected pace was scheduled for 12:50 and with a field that included most of the best 5000m men in the world (save for Jakob Ingebrigtsen) that time looked to be more than doable. Rabbit Paul Robinson took the pace in the early stages with a series of 62 and 63-second laps

Midway, the race started to slow and bunch up. At 3000m, Grijalva was at the front in 7:50. 

From there, it only got tighter with runners drifting well out into lane two looking for space. Katir was in good position toward the front with a penultimate lap of 59 seconds. The mad dash over the final 400 created massive movement throughout the pack, but it was Katir who emerged. In total, 13 men broke 13 minutes and six went under 12:55. Americans Woody Kincaid (12:54.40) and Joe Kelcker (12:55.16) set personal bests in sixth and seventh places, respectively.

Kerley, Bol, Knighton & Ta Lou Take Convincing Victories 

Fred Kerley ripped off another win in the men’s 100m and stayed undefeated in 2023. Kerley’s 9.94 was over a tenth faster than runner-up Ferdinand Omanyala’s 10.05. Trayvon Bromell placed third with a season best of 10.09.

Femke Bol took a big chunk off her world lead in the women’s 400m hurdles, cruising to victory in 52.43 and setting the meet record. It is the fifth fastest time of Bol’s career. Behind Bol, Shamier Little ran a season’s best of 53.38 and Anna Hall set a lifetime best of 54.42. Last weekend, Hall recorded a personal best in the heptathlon and moved to fifth all-time in the event.

Erriyon Knighton sizzled in his 200m debut, running 19.89 and winning by a massive margin over Jereem Richards and the rest of the field. Knighton took control early of the race, putting distance on the competition on the curve. He held his position on the homestretch and his lead appeared to grow in the final meters of the race. Richards took second in 20.28 and Aaron Brown was third in 20.31.

Marie Josee Ta Lou continued her great 2023 with a dominant win in 10.97. Ta Lou took command early in the race and was never challenged. It is Ta Lou’s third wind-legal time under 11 seconds this season. Gina Luckenkemper was second in 11.09. Americans Morolake Akinosun, Abby Steiner, Gabby Thomas and Jenna Prandini finished fourth through seventh. Dina Asher-Smith was a late scratch from the race. 

Grant Holloway rebounded from his loss in Rabat to win the high hurdles in 13.04. Behind Holloway, Jason Joseph broke the Swiss national record with a time of 13.10. Devon Allen ran a season best and took third in 13.19.