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Faith Kipyegon’s run at the Prefontaine Classic in the time of 3:52.59 is an Olympic-level performance, not just in pace but also in the way she went about it. She came, she raced, and she destroyed the field in great form.
On July 17, 2015, Ethiopian Genzebe Dibaba did what no one was expecting any athlete to do for some time. She leapfrogged the Ma’s Army athletes of the 1990s. Yunxia Qu had the world record at 3:50.46. She accomplished the time in Beijing in Sept. 1993. In that same race, Wang Junxia finished second in the time of 3:51.92. In that race, the two Chinese athletes set the first and second-fastest times in history.
Four years and one month later on Oct. 18, 1997, the Chinese were at it again. This time it was Jiang Bo clocking a 3:50.98, Yinglai Lang with her 3:51.34, Lili Yin with a 3:53.91 time, and Lixin Yan clocking a 3:53.97 performance. There were three others that day who also run a world-class sub-3:57 on that Shanghai track.
Did you know ?— Victor K Almeida 📰 (@AlmeidaVictorK) May 30, 2022
Faith Kipyegon 🇰🇪 is the only women in history with six races under 3:55 min in 1500m
Ma Junren claimed it was turtle blood. They had five of the six-fastest performances of all-time interrupted only by Russian Tatyana Kazankina who previously held the world record at 3:52.47. She was now the fifth-fastest.
Dibaba’s 3:50.07 performance atop the Chinese and Russians quieted the talk of the elephant-in-the-room list of names from primarily the two track meets that took place in China during the 1990s.
Kipyegon has the fourth-fastest time in history at 3:51.07 achieved in 2021 during the Monaco Diamond League meet. The same place Dibaba set the current world record.
Kipyegon who lives and trains in Kenya and is a mother of a two-year-old girl “Alyn” ran the ninth-fastest time just behind Kazankina on the all-time list. It’s the merry month of May, and most athletes want to be in shape now, but they want to be in peak form in mid-July during the 2022 World Athletics Championships.
When the gun sounded at Hayward Field, Kipyegon and Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, went to the front and dropped the field hard. The two ran alone for 1100 or 1200m, then Kipyegon took over and left Tsegay in her dust claiming a near two-second victory. Tsegay recorded a 3:54.29 — the 12th fastest time in history. The 24-year-old Tokyo Olympic bronze medallist already had the 12th fastest time from her Chorzów, Poland performance in 3:54.01 last year.
At Prefontaine, finishing in third position was Canadian Gabriela DeBues-Stafford, who holds seven national records including the 1500m at 3:56.12, she was fifth in Tokyo. DeBues-Stafford finished in 3:58.62.
Kipyegon owns two Olympic gold medals. The 28-year-old also has a gold from the 2017 London World Athletics Championships, two Worlds silvers, and 15 Diamond League first-place finishes in the 800m, 1000m, 1500m, and mile. She holds two African and three Kenyan national records including that 1500m performance that has her fourth on the all-time list.
Will she peak in July and attack Dibaba’s world record of 3:50.07? It certainly looks possible from a May point of view.
Only time will tell.