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Faith Kipyegon, the Kenyan mom who smashed the stopwatches and broke two world records in one week

2023-06-09T21:32:15.699Z

Highlights: The Kenyan Faith Kipyegon broke the world record for the 5,000 meters with 14:05.20. The previous mark belonged to the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey with 14m06s02 since October 7, 2020 in Valencia. Ingebrigtsen clocked 7:54.10, demolishing the 7:58.61 that had remained for almost twenty-six years (19-7-97) held by Kenyan Daniel Komen.


In Paris, for the Diamond League, he broke the world record of the 5,000 meters with 14:05.20. A week ago he had beaten the record of 1,500.


Just one week after her feat over 1,500 meters flat – when she became the first woman in history to run under 3 minutes and 50 seconds, with her 3:49.11 in Florence – this Friday, June 9, the Kenyan Faith Kipyegon returns to cause astonishment in athletics. At the Chaterly stadium in Paris, for the Diamond League, the largest circuit of World Athletics, he broke the world record for the 5,000 meters with 14:05.20.

The previous mark belonged to the Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey – also record holder of 10 thousand flats and half marathon – with 14m06s02 since October 7, 2020 in Valencia. Gidey now had to settle for second place in a spectacular race, where he scored 14:07.94.

The third place in a test where the first eleven were under 15 minutes corresponded to another Ethiopian, Egayehu Taye, with 14m13s31. Letesenbet returned to compete after several months, when he had been about to win the World Cross in Australia and fell only twenty meters from the finish.


Kipyegon, meanwhile, had just the experience of two races over this distance, both eight years ago, his best being 14:31.95 in Eugene, Oregon. Letesenbet is the 10,29 record holder with 01m03s1 for two years in Hengelo, while her half marathon record (02m52s<>) was achieved that same year in Valencia.

This Friday in Paris was a day full of emotions, which had begun when the star of the world middle-distance, the Norwegian Jakob Ingebrigtsen, gave himself the pleasure of beating a world record, although it is a "non-classic" test: the two miles (3,218 meters). Ingebrigtsen clocked 7:54.10, demolishing the 7:58.61 that had remained for almost twenty-six years (19-7-97) held by Kenyan Daniel Komen, in Hechtel, Belgium.

Olympic champion of 1,500 and world champion of 5,000, where he liquidated the "African legion", Ingebrigtsen demonstrated his imperial hierarchy to widely win his race, in which the Kenyan Ismael Kipkuiri came second with 8:09.23 and the Ethiopian Kuma Girma, third with 8:10.34. "To achieve this record is incredible. It's my first outdoor record," said Ingebrigtsen, who has already held the universal record of the 2022,1 in indoor track since February 500 with a time of 3:30.60 minutes.

"Coming out of the 1,500 meters, I found the pace very smooth. I would say it was a good race. The audience has been amazing, without their help it would have been harder. In the end I was a bit surprised by the time," said the Norwegian, who insisted his goal remains the 1,500. "My priority at the moment is the 1,500m, the 5,000m is the consequence of me being a good runner. I'm an endurance runner."

Also expected with great anticipation was the presentation of the American Sydney McLaughlin in the 400 meters flat (she is the queen of the 400 hurdles with her world and Olympic titles, and an amazing world record). In the flat distance she clocked 49.71 seconds and came second, preceded by the world and Olympic runner-up, the Dominican Marileidy Paulino.

Maternal speed

Florence, the City of the Medici and the "temple" of the great creations of the Renaissance, enjoyed – from time to time – some athletic feat. But the last one dated back to 1981 when Sebastian Coe, the current president of World Athletics, set the record for the 800 meters.

"Something" of record was palpitated on the eve of the classic Golden Gala / Pietro Mennea tournament, last Friday, by the participation of the unbeatable Kenyan mid-distance runner Faith Kipyegon. An appetizer was given by the runners of 5,000 meters flat, where the first thirteen were under 13 minutes and the world recordman and Olympic champion, the Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei, had to settle for fourth place. Mohamed Katir, the new star representing Spain won with 12:52.09, while Luis Grijalva – a Guatemalan with an amazing history, resident in California – ran his 12:52.97 for third place, the best mark ever achieved by a Latin American long-distance runner.

But the highlight at the Luigi Ridolfi stadium was reserved as the closing of the program. With Faith Kipyegon, the double world and Olympic champion of the 1,500 meters.

Her mark of 3 minutes, 49 seconds and 11 hundredths represents the new world record, breaking the "barrier" of 3m50 and leaving behind the 3m50s07 that the Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba had achieved eight years ago in Monte Carlo.

"The best is yet to come," said Kipyegon, whose coach since 2017 is Patrick Sang, the same one who led his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge to marathon glory.

And just a week later – this Friday, June 9 – he crowns another feat: he beat the world record of the 5,000 meters flat in Paris with 14m05s20

Kipyegon was born on January 10, 1994 in Bornet, the eighth of nine children of a family of farmers in the famous Rift Valley, the great quarry of Kenyan athletics, converted into a power for six decades. During his childhood and school period, Kipyegon played soccer, but it was also at school that a teacher saw his athletic conditions. Already in his family, both his father Samuel and his older sister Beatrice were runners.

Her international debut took place in one of the traditional disciplines of Kenyans, cross country: in 2010 and with just 16 years she was fourth in the youth category (sub 20) of the World Championship, in Bydgoszcz, Poland. But in the following season she won that title in Punta Umbria and just a few months later she was world champion under 18 of the 1,500 meters on track, in Lille, clocking 4:09.48. It was my first track race in Europe, I didn't expect to win it. But when he says it, it gave me a lot of confidence," he recalls.

In the 2012 season, and still a junior, she won the World Cup in that category in Barcelona and got a place on the Olympic team for the London Games, where she finished sixth in her series. She still had ground among the juniors (she won the U20 World Cross again), began to run in the 1,500 meters under 4 minutes and came sixth in her debut at the Senior World Championships, in Moscow. Two years later, at the World Cup in Beijing, she was runner-up, behind record holder Genzebe Dibaba.

Her progression in marks and results was irrepressible and thus she became Olympic champion of the 1,500 meters in Rio de Janeiro (2016) and world champion in London (2017). But at the end of that year, she and her husband Timothy Kitum – Olympic bronze medallist in the 800 meters in 2012 – decided they were ready for the arrival of a child. "I always had a dream of being a mother and decided to take a break from sport," Kipyegon said. Alyn was born in June 2018. "She changed my life. His birth was a happiness, I enjoyed it. And also, it gave me extra motivation for my career," he said.

In a period full of change – he moved to Eldoret, began training with Patrick Sang, after previously doing so with Bram Som – his return to competition came in June 2019, winning the 1,500 meters at Stanford in 3:59.04. It was a sign that she was ready for the World Championships in Doha where, while she escorted Dutch star Sifan Hassan, she improved her national record to 3:54.22.

The pandemic imposed a pause on athletic competitions for most of 2020, but the following year Kipyegon was ready for a new leap in quality. He ran in Monte Carlo in 3:51.07, threatening the world record, and at the Games in Tokyo he triumphed with 3:53.11, thus retaining the Olympic title achieved in Rio (something that, among men, has only been done over that distance by Sebastian Coe in 1980-84). And last year he won the World Championships in Eugene with 3:52.96, thus being his fourth medal of the same event in the last decade. With no time for celebrations, she returned to Monte Carlo where her mark of 3:50.37 left her just three tenths off the world record.

"As a mother, she has become the most consistent ever in the 1,500m. In these two years he has managed to run six times the test under 3 minutes and 54 seconds, a regularity that neither the world record holder Genzebe Dibaba, nor the Soviet Tatyana Kazankina nor the Chinese flying of the 90s achieved. And that, without failing in the championships, Olympic gold in Rio and Tokyo, world gold in London and Eugene, "described Runners World.

And the record has just been set at the Luigi Ridolfi stadium in Florence. There the Americans Brooke Feldmeier and Sage Hurta-Klecker fulfilled the function of "hares" with an excellent pace, passing in 1m02s37 the first lap and in 2m04s00 the 800 meters. From 900 meters, Kipyegon went solo and covered the 1,200 meters in 3:05.28. He knew that the record was possible and attacked it, with all determination. His final 400 meters were 58.7 seconds. The British Laura Muir was second with 3:57.09 and the Australian Jessica Hall, third with 3:57.29, a new record for her country. The three medalists, along with the rest of the competitors, then joined at the edge of the track to celebrate Kipyegon's feat. "I thank God, my coach, my family, my team and the public, who cheered me on throughout the race," he said.

"I said yesterday that I wanted to run a beautiful race, run my race and see what's possible, and this was possible," he said. There's still more to come. I'm still working to run faster than that, faster than 3m49. Today I am very grateful to have managed to run 3m49 and I am still heading towards beautiful races in the rest." of the season."

Now, in Paris, the saga continued. The wait for Budapest with the World Cup, in August, surely over 1,500.

How to get back from pregnancy and be faster

Faith Kipyegon gave birth, by cesarean section, to her daughter Alyn in 2018. Twelve months later, she was back in competition and in October 2019 she was runner-up in the world in Doha, behind the Dutch Sifan Hassan. Since then, she became an invincible middle-distance runner over 1,500 meters. In an interview with Runners World magazine, Kipyegon pointed to the "keys" to that comeback: rest, patience, endurance work and self-motivation (dedicating successes to his daughter).

  • A long breath to his body. Kipyegon trained until the fourth month of pregnancy, but has not exercised since. "I took a break, relaxed and enjoyed the time left until Alyn was born." She resumed training, when her daughter was already seven months old with a series of strength exercises. After inactivity, he had to strengthen his legs and core muscles to withstand the demands of his body when he started running. And he returned to running when Alyn turned nine months old.


  • He took his time to regain form. Although his usual weight was 45 kg, when he resumed training he was at 63. "I went to my coach, and he told me to take my time, I followed all the things he told me, but it wasn't easy." He did not follow any special diet. When he started running, he did it in periods of five minutes, which was increasing. After two months of training he was weighing 53 kg.


  • He paid attention to his health. She chose to breastfeed her daughter for six months, so her medical team closely monitored her calcium levels. "Calcium is depleted because it's being used for two people," explains Peter Nduhiu, a physiotherapist at the NN Running Team training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya. "After so many months with reduced activity, you have to balance the way you get back into active sport without causing deficits and not overdoing it." Sleep was also vital.


  • He improved his endurance. Under the guidance of Patrick Sang, Kipyegon training has three defining moments per week (a track session on Tuesdays, a long race on Thursdays and a fartlek session on Saturdays). Kipyegon gets to train 30 km. at a strong pace, a greater amount than he did before, and that resistance work paid off in short distances (where he maintained his speed). Now she arrives more relaxed to the final lap of the 1,500 meters, where she applies her fearsome sprint.


  • Self-motivation. Physically, Kipyegon says she doesn't feel any different now than she did before motherhood, but mentally, there's a big difference. "Now that I'm a mother, I have to focus more on my career for the sake of my son. Since Alyn came into this world, she has been my life. Now I'm a focused athlete, I have someone to take care of, so I put my heart, my head, everything, for her."
  • Your personal bests

    • 800 meters flat: 1:57.68 2020


    • 1,000 meters flat: 2:29.15 2020


    • 1,500 meters flat: 3:49.11 2023 // World record


    • One mile: 4:16.71 2015


    • 3,000 meters flat: 8:23.55 2014


    • 5,000 meters flat: 14:05.20 // World record

    See also

    Jim Hines, the first man to drop below 10 seconds in the 100 meters in a magical night of athletics, has died

    Concussion in athletics: Tori Bowie, triple Olympic medalist found dead, was seven months pregnant

    Source: clarin

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