Faith Kipyegon breaks 1,500 metres world record as Ciara Mageean finishes fourth

Irish woman ran 4:00.95, finishing 11 seconds behind the world record-breaking Kenyan

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.

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan

Ian O'Riordan is an Irish Times sports journalist writing on athletics