Monaco DL Women — Kipyegon Obliterates Mile WR

All smiles, Faith Kipyegon finished well clear of a field that produced historic times of their own. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI)

FONTVIEILLE, MONACO, July 21 — That Faith Kipyegon needed anything else to be remembered as one of this sport’s greatest legends is doubtful. Yet the 29-year-old Kenyan mother, already the owner of the last two Olympic 1500 gold medals, the owner of two World golds, the holder of the World Records for 1500 and 5000, climbed one mountain more, circling the track at Stade Louis-II four times to obliterate the World Record for the mile.

Kipyegon’s 4:07.64 demolished the old best of 4:12.33, set by Sifan Hassan in 2019, by 4.69 seconds. It was the biggest lowering of the record since the early days of high-level women’s middle-distance racing, when Romania’s Natalia Marasescu ran 4:23.8 to cut 5.7 seconds off the mark in ’77.

It also finally put the standard for the mile — relatively rarely-run for women internationally — on nearly equal terms as the 1500. The standard conversion puts the new mark’s worth at approximately 3:49.27, close enough to Kipyegon’s 1500 record of 3:49.11 for anybody’s satisfaction.

The race itself didn’t go according to script, at least not on the first lap. Two rabbits went to the front, Kristie Schoffield and Winnie Nanyondo. Schoffield, the Boise State ’22 NCAA 800 champion now running for New Balance Boston, got out a bit too fast, and after 200 eased up a little so that the pacing lights could catch up. Not that it fazed Kipyegon, who stayed perfectly alongside the mechanical aid.

The first 400 passed in 61.9, with Kipyegon at 62.6. At 700, Schoffield moved wide and Nanyondo took over. The Ugandan recordholder, a 4-time World Ranker at 800/1500, led past 800 in 2:04.2, a 62.3 circuit. Kipyegon, two strides back in 2:04.6, ran calm and relaxed. Approaching 1000, Nanyondo ran into lane 2 but kept her pace alongside the Kenyan until the curved line.

That left Kipyegon alone at the front, with a rapidly-growing lead of 30-meters plus. With her eyes down, her stride an efficient clip, she powered through the 1200 in 3:06.8, and would need to cover the final 409+ in 65.4 to break the record. On the backstretch, she quickened her stride, her arms pumping harder, eyes straight ahead.

She passed 1500 in 3:51.5, the No. 5 time ever and nearly 4 seconds faster than the 3:55.30 that Hassan split in her WR on the same track. Eyes on the finish, she continued at a full sprint to the line, now 20m ahead of the lights. She covered that final lap-plus in 60.98 and was all smiles when she saw the clock, laying down on her back and kicking her feet joyously into the air.

Behind her, all 12 finishers scored lifetime bests, starting with runner-up Ciara Mageean, who set an Irish Record 4:14.58 to become No. 5 all-time. Freweyni Hailu, who tried to stay close to Kipyegon in the first 2 laps, hit 4:14.79 for No. 6. Laura Muir set a British record 4:15.24 for No. 7. Jessica Hull, an Australian Record 4:15.34 for No. 8.

In 6th, Nikki Hiltz had more speed than Elise Cranny down the final stretch, breaking Mary Slaney’s 4:16.71 American Record from ’85 with her 4:16.35. Cranny ran the No. 2 U.S. time ever at 4:16.47 in 8th, with Britain’s Melissa Courtney-Bryant finishing between them at 4:16.38.

“It is a blessing,” said the winner. “It just does not happen every time you run. I have to say thank God for this. I really enjoyed the race. I came for that, I wanted to chase the World Record and it was amazing. And just before the World Championships. I was really looking forward to running here. I have done good training so far and I just came for it.

“The race was well planned. It just went smoothly and to accomplish the World Record — that is amazing. What will be the next I do not know, it is in God´s hands. I do not know how I am doing this because it just keeps going really in a good way. I was feeling healthy and just focusing myself for this World Record. When I started this season, my goal was to just break the 1500 WR. It was still in my head and in my mind. Thank God I did also the 1 mile and the 5000.”

None of the other women’s events matched up to the mile, but how could they? Despite that, sprint fans got the treat of seeing Julien Alfred, who beat Sha’Carri Richardson at 100 three days earlier, take on World 200 champ Shericka Jackson. The Jamaican made sure it wasn’t even close, running a solid curve before jetting away on the straight to take the win, 21.86 to Alfred’s 22.08. Dina Asher-Smith ran 3rd in 22.23, while Gabby Thomas — who said the day before she was jetlagged — looked off-form in finishing 7th in 22.67.

“I had a hard training session yesterday,” said Jackson, “and I was still able to run 21 so that was good.”

The 100 hurdles painted a portrait of U.S. dominance perhaps not seen since Rio’s medal sweep, as Nia Ali ran a world-leader and PR 12.30 to nip Kendra Harrison (12.31) at the line, and Alaysha Johnson in 3rd edged Tia Jones, both with speedy 12.39s. Missing from the race, of course, was Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn and provisionally banned world champion Tobi Amusan.

Said Ali of moving to No. 3 American all-time, “This is the first time I won a Diamond League. I can’t believe it. I started very fast and then in the middle told myself, ‘Don’t fall asleep!’ I really fought for it.”

The 400 delivered quite a surprise. In a race featuring recent sub-50 performers Rhasidat Adeleke, Lieke Klaver and Natalia Kaczmarek, few expected 400 hurdler Shamier Little, out in lane 8, to sprint to the lead in the final stretch, only to be caught in the final stride by Kaczmarek and her 49.63. Little, who had only broken 50 once before (a 49.91 two years ago), was rewarded with a 49.67. Klaver nicked 3rd from Adeleke, both clocking 49.99.

Neither Larissa Iapichino nor Tara Davis-Woodhall looked to be having the best of days in the first four rounds of the long jump. Ivan Vuleta led at 22-6¼ (6.86), while Iapichino sat in 3rd at 22-1½ (6.74) and Davis-Woodhall 6th at 21-10¾ (6.67). But in round 5, the American got fired up and leaped to the lead with her 22-7 (6.88). The Italian, who just turned 21, topped that with her final leap of 22-9¾ (6.95).

“I was not feeling it in the beginning,” explained Iapichino. “Maybe it was because of the heat.”

A suspenseful high jump competition saw 5 athletes taking attempts at 6-6¼ (1.99), but only one, Australia’s Nicola Olyslagers, the Olympic silver medalist, cleared the bar. “This is my last competition before Budapest and I know I have a lot of things to work on,” she said.


200(0.2): 1. Shericka Jackson (Jam) 21.86; 2. Julien Alfred (StL) 22.08; 3. Dina Asher-Smith (GB) 22.23; 4. Anthonique Strachan (Bah) 22.40; 5. Daryll Neita (GB) 22.54; 5. Kayla White (US) 22.54; 7. Gabby Thomas (US) 22.67; 8. Tamara Clark (US) 22.83.

400: 1. Natalia Kaczmarek (Pol) 49.63; 2. Shamier Little (US) 49.68 PR; 3. Lieke Klaver (Neth) 49.99; 4. Rhasidat Adeleke (Ire) 49.99; 5. Sada Williams (Bar) 50.00; 6. Mary Moraa (Ken) 50.48; 7. Zeney Van Der Walt (SA) 51.20; 8. Anna Kiełbasińska (Pol) 52.67.

Mile: 1. Faith Kipyegon (Ken) 4:07.64 WR (old WR 4:12.33 Sifan Hassan [Neth] ’19) (3:51.41­—x, 5 W)(400s—62.6, 62.0 [2:04.6], 62.2 [3:06.8], 60.8 [4:06.3], 1.3) (100s—15.5, 16.1 [31.6], 15.3 [46.9], 15.7 [62.6], 15.5 [78.1], 15.4 [1:33.5], 15.6 [1:49.1], 15.5 [2:04.6], 15.5 [2:20.1], 15.5 [2:35.6], 15.6 [2:51.2], 15.6 [3:06.8], 15.1 [3:21.9], 14.8 [3:36.7], 14.8 [3:51.5], 14.8 [4:06.3], 1.3) (finish—16.1, 30.9, 60.8, 2:03.0);

2. Ciara Mageean (Ire) 4:14.58 NR (5, 6 W) (3:58.28); 3. Freweyni Hailu (Eth) 4:14.79 PR (6, 9 W) (3:58.07); 4. Laura Muir (GB) 4:15.24 NR (7, 10 W) (3:58.09); 5. Jessica Hull (Aus) 4:15.34 NR (8, 11 W) (3:58.22);

6. Nikki Hiltz (US) 4:16.35 AR (old AR 4:16.71 Mary Slaney [AW] ’85) (13, x W) (64.6, 63.8 [2:08.4], 63.8 [3:12.2], 64.2, 1.3) (16.7, 32.6, 64.2, 2:08.0) (3:59.61 PR—11, x A);

7. Melissa Courtney-Bryant (GB) 4:16.38 PR (3:59.42);

8. Elise Cranny (US) 4:16.47 PR (15, x W; 2, 2 A) (3:58.88 PR [AL]—9, x A);

9. Abbey Caldwell (Aus) 4:20.51 PR (4:03.16); 10. Esther Guerrero (Spa) 4:22.28 PR (4:03.81); 11. Bérénice Cleyet-Merle (Fra) 4:26.06 PR (4:03.91 PR); 12. Agathe Guillemot (Fra) 4:26.92 PR (4:03.26 PR); 13. Joselyn Daniely Brea (Ven) 4:27.41 NR (4:07.71);… rabbits—Kristie Schoffield (US) (61.76), Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) (2:04.10).

(best-ever mark-for-place: 1–8)

100H(0.6): 1. Nia Ali (US) 12.30 PR (WL, AL) (9, x W; 3, 6 A); 2. Keni Harrison (US) 12.31 (x, 7 A);

3. Alaysha Johnson (US) 12.39; 4. Tia Jones (US) 12.39; 5. Pia Skrzyszowska (Pol) 12.68; 6. Laeticia Bapte (Fra) 12.73 PR; 7. Sarah Lavin (Ire) 12.74.

(best-ever mark-for-place 4)

Field Events

HJ: 1. Nicola Olyslagers (Aus) 6-6¼ (1.99) (6-2¾, 6-4, 6-5 [3], 6-6¼ [3], 6-7 [x], 6-8 [xx]) (1.90, 1.93, 1.96 [3], 1.99 [3], 2.01 [x], 2.03 [xx]); 2. Iryna Herashchenko (Ukr) 6-5 (1.96); 3. Yaroslava Mahuchikh (Ukr) 6-5; 4. tie, Angelina Topić (Ser) & Eleanor Patterson (Aus) 6-5; 6. Yuliya Levchenko (Ukr) 6-4 (1.93); 7. Morgan Lake (GB) 6-4.

LJ: 1. Larissa Iapichino (Ita) 22-9¾ (6.95) PR (21-8¾, f, 22-¾, 22-1½, 22-4¼, 22-9¾) (6.62, f, 6.72, 6.74, 6.81, 6.95); 2. Tara Davis Woodhall (US) 22-7 (6.88) (f, 21-10¾, 21-8, f, 22-7, 21-8¾) (f, 6.67, 6.60, f, 6.88, 6.62); 3. Ivana Vuleta (Ser) 22-6¼ (6.86) (22-¾, f, 22-6¼, f, 22-3, f) (6.72, f, 6.86, f, 6.78, f); 4. Hilary Kpatcha (Fra) 22-2½ (6.77); 5. Fatima Diame (Spa) 22-1½ (6.74); 6. Brooke Buschkuehl (Aus) 22-1 (6.73); 7. Ackelia Smith (Jam) 21-11¾ (6.70); 8. Ese Brume (Ngr) 21-10¾ (6.67); 9. Quanesha Burks (US) 21-10¼ (6.66); 10. Yulimar Rojas (Ven) 21-8¼ (6.61); 11. Jazmin Sawyers (GB) 21-7½ (6.59).

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