Faith Kipyegon Wins Gold In the 1500m At the 2023 World Athletics Championships

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The highly anticipated women’s 1500m final took place last night, August 22, 2023, at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The top 12 women who had qualified through the preliminary and semi-final rounds toed the line in the medal-earning final round of the women’s 1500m race.

In an exciting race, 29-year-old Kenyan runner Faith Kipyegon reigned supreme, winning her fifth global title and taking home the coveted 2023 World Athletics Championships women’s 1500m gold medal. 

Faith Kipyegon ran with authority and well-seasoned poise, as she cruised through the finish line in a time of 3:54.87, beating runner-up, Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia, by 0.82 seconds.

The title of 2023 World Athletics Championships women’s 1500m champion was Kipyegon’s third consecutive gold medal at this event and fifth international 1500m victory overall.

Another race favorite who competed for the 2023 World’s 1500m win, Ethiopian-born Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, won the women’s 1500m final at the 2019 World Athletic Championships in a championship-record time for the event of 3:51.95.

Faith Kipyegon’s winning time at this year’s 2023 World Athletics Championship was about 1.5 seconds slower than her winning time last year of 3:52.96 at the 2022 World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon, or her 1500m time when she took the gold medal in the women’s 1500m race at the Olympics.

None of this is to say that Kipyegon ran poorly last night or is getting slower by any means.

The Kenyan runner has had a stellar 2023 track season, setting three world records on the track for women: the women’s 1500m world record, the women’s mile world record, and the women’s 5000m world record.

For example, in June, 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.

Then, she 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.

Plus, Faith Kipyegon absolutely crushed the last lap, running a blistering 56.63 seconds for the final 400 meters of the race.

The 2023 World Athletics Championships women’s 1500m silver medalist was Diribe Welteji of Ethiopia, who trailed by less than a second (0.82 seconds) to finish in 3:55.69 just a nose ahead of the bronze medal winner, Sifan Hassan.

Sifan Hassan had been attempting a triple victory at the 2023 World Athletics Championships with entries in the women’s 1500m, women’s 5000m, and women’s 10K events.

She struggled on night one in the women’s 10,000m final, after winning her preliminary heat in the 1500m earlier that day, finishing in a disappointing 12th place after falling just 30m from the finish line.

She was hoping for a big comeback in the women’s 1500m event last night, and although third place may not have been her bucket-list goal, it’s certainly a respectable performance against competition like Faith Kipyegon.

Hassan ran 3:56.00 in last night’s 1500m final, running a blazing 57-second last lap along with Ethiopian silver medal winner, Diribe Welteji.

All of these women demonstrated tremendous leg speed, and we can’t overlook the fact that this was their third 1500-meter race in a matter of a couple of days, so there has to be some amount of accumulated leg fatigue at this point.

For runners in the UK, it was a nail-biting but disappointing race, watching 31-year-old Ciara Mageean from Ireland just narrowly miss out on earning a medal in the event and getting the esteemed honor of standing on the podium at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

Had Ciara Mageean edged into third place, it would have been the first time in 28 years that an Irish athlete earned a medal on the track at any of the annual World Championships for track & field. 

Again, this is certainly not said to take away from Ciara Mageean’s impressive performance at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

After all, Ciara Mageean is newer to this high level of competition after having a surprising break out last summer on the track.

Furthermore, the UK runner ran a very smart and tactical race, sticking right along the pole on the first lane throughout the entire race.

Ciara Mageean ended up in fourth place, setting the women’s 1500m Irish national record in a time of 3:56.61, and running a personal best (PB) for the distance.

Another notable performance in the race was seen by Laura Muir of Great Britain, a World medalist and Olympic medalist.

Laura Muir finished 6th last in the women’s 1500m finals, clocking 3:58.58.

Cory McGee was the only American woman to make the finals, where she finished in 10th place with a time of 4:01.60.

Kipyegon took the lead early, setting a slow pace for such a high-caliber race.

Kipyegon led the field through the first 400m split in 65.14 and then split 2:11.78 for the 800 meters.

This 2:11.78 at the 800-meter mark projects to 4:07.8 for 1500m, which is notably slow for the international championships and the 1500m PRs of the women in the finals of this year‘s World Athletics Championships 1500 meter women’s race.

Given the slow pace, the entire 12-women field remained clumped together at the 800-meter mark, but then Kipyegon started picking up the pace, running the next 400m split in 50.64 to hit the 1200m mark in 3:12.41.

During this lap, the pack of contenders blue wide-open along the backstretch, with only eventual runner-up, 21-year-old Ethiopian Welteji, staying within striking distance of Faith Kipyegon of Kenya.

Young runner Welteji took fourth place in the 800m finals at the 2022 World Athletics Championships, and certainly has the leg speed to keep up with older and more long-distance-based Kipyegon.

This made it interesting to see what would happen along with the final turn and straightaway into the finish, but Kipyogen was able to use her veteran abilities on the track (and in this event on the global level) and superior fitness to pull off the win.

Sifan Hassan and several other women were chasing the final podium spot for the bronze medal.

Hassan was in sixth place at the start of the bell lap and ran a fast 57-second final lap to pass all of the medal contenders ahead of her, including Mageean, at the start of the final turn.

Overall, it was an exciting, yet tactical race for the 2023 World Athletics Championships women’s 1500-meter final. 

We are looking forward to seeing what kind of 5000m performance Sifan Hassan can pull off, and the upcoming distance and sprint events for the men at the 2023 World Athletics Championships.

You can find full results from the event and all of the future events at the 2023 World Athletics Championships this week here.

You can learn how to watch the World Athletics Championships 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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