Kipyegon Smashes Women’s 1500m World Record In an Epic Performance 

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Most of the time, long-standing running world records are broken by only fractions of a second once they are finally taken down, particularly if the event distance is short. 

After all, the shorter the running race, the more significant every 0.01 of a second, or even every 0.001 of a second, becomes.

But, that’s not what happened with the women’s 1500m world record.

The incredible Kenyan middle-distance runner Faith Kipyegon, a two-time Olympic and two-time world champion, set a new 1500m women’s world record at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea in Florence, Italy, on Friday, June 2, 2023.

Kipyegon ran 3:49.11, taking down Genzebe Dibaba’s 2015 women’s 1500-meter world record of 3:50.07 by nearly a full second. 

To non-runners, breaking the world record by one second in a distance that is almost as long as a mile may not seem like much, but for the elite women’s 1500m, this is truly a monumental achievement.

In fact, Kipyegon’s time represents only the third time in the last 42 years that the women’s 1500-meter world record has been broken.

(For curious track nerds, Qu Yunxia broke the record first in 1993 and then Dibaba in 2015.)

Furthermore, Dibaba is the only other woman in the last 25 years who has managed to run within two seconds of Kipyegon’s 1500m world record time set this week.

As such, unless 29-year-old Kipyegon breaks her own 1500m WR in the coming months and years, it’s reasonable to assume that this time could stay in the record books for quite some time.

Perhaps as impressive as Kipyegon’s finish time was her race execution.

She was paced by Americans Brooke Feldmeier and Sage Hurta-Klecker, who helped pull her through the 800m mark in 2:04.1.

In case you’re not one who can quickly do mental math, a 2:04.1 split at the 800m works out to a 1500m time of over 3:53.

Even if she wanted to just stick with the world record pace without setting a new 1500 m world record for women, Kipyegon would have had to hit the 800m mark in 2:02.7 for an even-split race. 

But, Faith Kipyegon pulled out all the stops to run incredible negative splits in the race (running the second half of the race faster than the first half). 

She sprinted the last 800 meters in 2:00.6, with the last 400 meters of that clocking in at 58.9 seconds, and the final 200 meters in a blazing 29.2 seconds.

Following the race, Kipyegon posted a photo showing her amazed expression crossing the line with the following notes about her world record performance:

“I am really thankful, today was a wonderful day in which everything came together. The world record was in my mind since last year, but I wanted to approach it slowly by slowly to see what was possible this year. I can’t believe it! Now I have achieved what I wanted and what was in my heart and in my mind. All the athletes waiting for me at the finish line made me emotional.”

Kipyegon’s 1500m running prowess isn’t new.

Before breaking the WR at the Golden Gala Pietro Mennea, Kipyegon was already the second-fastest woman in history for the event with a time of 3:50.37. 

However, now she is not only the fastest woman in history for the 1500-meter run, but also the only woman to ever break the 3:50 barrier for the distance.

Faith Kipyegon’s 1500m time of 3:49.11 equates to approximately a 4:07.44 mile (1609 meters).

This extrapolated time is almost a full five seconds faster than the current women’s mile record, held by Sifan Hassan since 2019.

We can’t wait to see what’s next for Faith Kipyegon. Join us in keeping tabs on this inspiring runner on her Instagram page here.

You can watch the women’s 1500m race at Golden Gala Pietro Mennea here.

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Amber Sayer is a Fitness, Nutrition, and Wellness Writer and Editor, as well as a NASM-Certified Nutrition Coach and UESCA-certified running, endurance nutrition, and triathlon coach. She holds two Masters Degrees—one in Exercise Science and one in Prosthetics and Orthotics. As a Certified Personal Trainer and running coach for 12 years, Amber enjoys staying active and helping others do so as well. In her free time, she likes running, cycling, cooking, and tackling any type of puzzle.

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