Most mile world records are only lowered by fractions of a second given the highly elite level of world-record breakers and the relatively short duration of the mile race.
The one caveat is that the full mile is not contested at the elite level nearly as often as the 1500m run, so once in a while, we can get a break-out mile race where the existing mile world record is smashed.
That just happened, and the entire women’s mile all-time list was essentially entirely rewritten.
Kenyan runner Faith Kipyegon ran a blistering 4:07.64 mile at the Monaco Diamond League track meet on Friday, July 21, 2023, shattering the existing women’s mile world record by a jar-dropping 4.69 seconds.
Faith Kipyegon is certainly not a new name for those who follow competitive running, but even her biggest fans were likely shocked by this tremendous performance.
In June, she set the 1500m women’s world record and the 5,000m women’s world record (14:05.20).
Kipyegon’s new mile world record for women lowered the previous women’s mile world record held by Sifan Hassan since 2019 from 4:12.33 to 4:07.64.
This means that Kipyegon was averaging over one second per lap faster than Sifan Hassan’s mile record, and was clocking each lap in under 62 seconds per 400 meters.
Kipyegon’s world record mile race was a demonstration of nearly picture-perfect even splits (running the same pace for every lap of the race).Led by pacers Kristie Schoffield and Winnie Nanyondo, Faith Kipyegon came through the first 400 meters in 62.6, and then hit the 800-meter mark in 2:04.6, and 1200 meters in 3:06.8 for 1200m. She closed the last 409 meters (1,609 meters for the full mile) in just under 61 seconds.
After her victory, Kipyegon took to her Instagram and wrote:
“Monaco is a special place!! I’m so happy to break another record, and I couldn’t think about a more beautiful place for my final test for Budapest World Championships. Thank you Monaco.”
If you had the opportunity to watch this mile world record-setting race, you likely noticed that Faith Kipyegon was way out in front, as if running in a completely different race.
This made the 2023 Monaco Diamond League women’s mile finals look deceptively slow, as if Kipyegon was the only one that pulled out all the stops and ran a phenomenal race.
However, even though Kipyegon was almost 7 seconds in front of the runner-up finisher, Ciara Mageean, Mageean’s mild finish time of 4:14.58 not only broke the Irish mile record for women, but also landed Mageean in fifth on the women’s world all-time mile time list.
This just goes to show how monumentally fast Faith Kipyegon’s mile world record time is, and bodes well for the continually rising caliber of women’s running on the global scale.
In fact, every woman in the race set a mile PR in her respective mile performance on Friday.
Plus, together, the field of runners in the 2023 Monaco Diamond League women’s mile finals broke seven national mile records and four continental women’s mile running records.
Eight women ran under 4:17 for the mile.
Freweyni Hailu placed third in 4:14.79.
Standout UK runner Laura Muir placed fourth in 4:15.24, which set a new Scottish and British women’s mile record.
The Australian and Oceanian women’s mile records were broken by Jess Hull, who finished in fifth place with a time of 4:15.34.
For the US, mile champion Nikki Hiltz set a new US women’s mile record, breaking Mary Slaney’s long-standing American mile record for women of 4:16.71, which was set 38 years ago in 1985.
Nikki Hiltz’s mile time of 4:16.35, which was good for sixth place, also broke the existing North American mile record for women.
Overall, this Diamond League race was an incredible showing of the current state of women’s middle-distance running on the international scale and leaves us very excited to see what happens at the World Championships next month.
New mile world-record holder Kipyegon has stated that she plans on racing both the 1500m (hoping to defend her 2022 World Championships title in this distance) as well as the 5000m.
It sounds like a tough double and an ambitious goal, but one that we are fairly confident Kipyegon is capable of achieving after her stellar mile race this past weekend.
Join us in keeping tabs on this inspiring runner on her Instagram page here.