Breaking one of the last barriers of women’s middle-distance running, Faith Kipyegon took down the world record for the 1,500 metres at the Florence Diamond League on Friday night, clocking a magnificent 3:49.11.
It was billed as a world record attempt and didn’t disappoint, Kipyegon making her intentions clear from the start – the pacemaking group promptly opening track on the rest of the field, which included Ciara Mageean.
Passing halfway in 2:04.00, Kipyegon hit the front soon after, the Kenyan then closing with a last lap of 58 seconds to break through the 3:50 barrier for the first time, her 3:49.11 improving the previous record of Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba, who ran 3:50.07 in 2016.
For Kipyegon, the two-time World and Olympic champion, it underlines her status as the best 1,500m runner of her generation.
Mageean was the best of chasing pack, coming home in fourth in 4:00.95, her first 1,500m race of the season, the two survivors of the lead pack finishing just ahead – Britain’s Laura Muir second in 3:57.09, Australia’s Jess Hull third in 3:57.29.
It is certainly an encouraging run for Mageean, who last year improved the Irish record to 3:56.63, and six days ago took back the Irish 800m record, breaking the mark Louise Shanahan set last year, with a superb run at the British Milers Club meeting in Manchester.
The Portaferry athlete crossed the line there in 1.59.27, to knock 0.15 of a second off the record Shanahan had set in Belfast in May 2022.
The 31-year-old, who won European and Commonwealth silver medals last year, is building nicely toward the World Athletics Championships in Budapest in August.