One week after breaking 1500m mark she runs fastest 5000m of all-time in epic head-to-head with Letesenbet Gidey at Paris Diamond League
It is only early June but Faith Kipyegon has already put together a brilliant case for being named athlete of the year already. One week after breaking the world 1500m record with a ground-breaking 3:49.11, the Kenyan supermum set another world record – this time over 5000m – with 14:05.20 at the Diamond League in Paris.
It came after a tremendous duel with Letesenbet Gidey, who held the world record for this distance, plus 10,000m and half-marathon, until tonight (June 9). Pushing the pace for much of the latter stages, the Ethiopian went down fighting and produced a super-fast time of her own in second place with 14:07.94.
Behind, Ejgayehu Taye – the world 5km record-holder from Ethiopia – ran 14:13.31 in third, Lilian Rengeruk of Kenya clocked 14:23.05 in fourth, Freweyni Hailu of Ethiopia 14:23.45 in fifth and Margaret Kipkemboi of Kenya 14:23.67 in sixth as Britain’s Laura Muir wound up 11th in 14:48.14, narrowly beating a PB which was set indoors.
Remarkably this was Kipyegon’s first 5000m since 2015 and she slaughtered her 14:31.95 PB during what proved to be the race of the night at a power-packed Diamond League that saw three world records in total.
Kipyegon’s early splits saw her run 2:53.1 for 1000m, 4:35.2 for 1600m, 5:42.6 for 2000m and 8:32.1 for 3000m, but it was her closing speed that drew gasps of admiration. After taking the lead from Gidey on the penultimate lap, Kipyegon began to wind up the pace in the last 400m and her final lap was 60.9 and her last 200m was 28.6 as Gidey’s challenge finally faltered.
Gidey’s record of 14:06.62 was set in Valencia in 2020 but despite this red-hot field in Paris it was not particularly expected to fall. No one quite knew how Kipyegon would handle the 12-and-a-half-lap distance either.
“I did not think about the world record,” said Kipyegon, “I do not know how I made it. I just focused on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race.”
The winner added: “I just did the race and wanted to see what happens. When I saw that it was a world record I was so surprised! It was all about giving my best. I just wanted to improve on my PB, the world record was not my plan.
“I just ran after Gidey – she is an amazing lady. It is amazing. I do not know what will be next, I still have to discuss it with my coach and my management. I am so happy, I am very emotional right now and do not know what to say. If my body is healthy, anything is possible.”
Who knows what’s possible for Kipyegon in future after her performances this month. The 29-year-old has won two Olympic and two world titles over 1500m, so will she chase a hat-trick in Paris next year, or will she continue to move up in distance and settle at 5000m?
She has made no secret of the fact she fancies tackling a marathon before she retires too!
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