WR! Kipyegon Sub-3:50 At Florence DL

A full complement of competitors joined in the celebration of Faith Kipyegon’s astonishing World Record. (JIRO MOCHIZUKI)

FLORENCE, ITALY, June 02 — “I didn’t expect to run a World Record. I was looking forward to run a world lead,” Faith Kipyegon said after the 1500. She accomplished both in a smashing race at the Florence Diamond League, reeling off history’s first sub-3:50 by a woman. Her 3:49.11 on the clock undercut Genzebe Dibaba’s 8-year-old WR by 0.96.

With Americans Brooke Feldmeier and Sage Hurta-Klecker providing superb pacing and Laura Muir chasing determinedly, 4-time No. 1 World Ranker Kipyegon — the most consistent metric miler in the years since Dibaba set her standard, and double gold winner at both the Olympics and World Champs — attacked WR pace methodically.

As early as 300m in the rabbits, Kipyegon, Muir and Australia’s Jessica Hull began to draw away from the field. With pace lights flashing, their tempo played out splits far more rational than Dibaba’s had been.

In the Ethiopian’s run she had followed circuits by the pacer of 60.31 and 64.21 before dropping a sub-60 for the third lap to pass 1200 as the clock showed 3:04.62.

Kipyegon, 29, got there less erratically: 62.8 behind Feldmeier’s 62.37, 2:04.2 behind Sage-Klecker’s 2:04.00, and then at 900m she sailed off solo to complete a 61.1 third lap (3:05.28).

Muir stayed engaged from behind, however, and trailed Kipyegon’s 2:50.5 at the bell by 8–9m — close enough to pick up the pieces should the Kenyan’s wheels fall off. That they did not.

Her visage tranquil, Kipyegon, by now thinking she could set a record, poured heart and soul into making it happen. She covered the first half of her final circuit in 29.5 and the finish in 29.2.

Whether you love or hate the Wavelight system, when Kipyegon pulled away from the lights late on the backstretch, one understood what was up.

Her 58.8 last lap compared favorably with Dibaba’s 59.8 and largely accounted for her margin over the old WR. Kipyegon zipped down the homestretch in 14.6.

Muir (3:57.09) and Hull (3:57.29), who had made up some ground on the Scot over the last lap, crossed the line with seasonal bests. Hull’s time was also an Aussie Record and a 1.52 improvement of her prior best achieved in the Tokyo Olympic semis.

“This just came as a surprise and I really thank God,” Kipyegon said. “I really thank my coach, my management for coming along and just telling me to be patient and just run my race.”

The Italian crowd “was really, really nice,” she added. “Fans were cheering. That’s why I was pushing the last 400m, knowing that I have left the Wavelight behind and everything was possible in front. And yeah, I was just focusing myself toward that finish line and seeing what was possible.”

With a lap to run, the about-to-be WR-setter was heartened: “I was still feeling strong when I heard the bell. I was feeling I could still push more than that, more than I had. So I was really, really pushing.”

Check back in soon for a report to follow on other big happenings at the Florence DL.