Genzebe Dibaba Smashes Indoor 5,000 WR By Over 5 Seconds With 14:18.86 In Stockholm

February 19, 2015

Genzebe Dibaba spent February 2014 rewriting the indoor record books, setting world records at 1500, 3000 and 2 miles. A year later, the 24-year-old Ethiopian has done it again, adding the 5,000 world record to her accomplishments with a brilliant 14:18.86 at the XL Galan meet in Stockholm on Thursday night in her 2015 opener. With a cover version of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” playing in the background, Dibaba used a 2:47.14 final kilometer to easily take down Meseret Defar‘s 14:24.37 mark, set six years ago on the same track.

Dibaba broke her fourth indoor world record in just over a year Dibaba broke her fourth indoor world record in just over a year

Running alone on the four-lane track for the final three kilometers (Dibaba lapped everyone in the field at least once), Dibaba slowed slightly during the middle of the race, but made up for it by hammering home the final kilometer, closing with a 64.60 last 400 and a 31.34 last lap.

Dibaba’s splits (hat tip to MB poster Dutch)
1k: 2:52:72
2k: 5:43:97 ( 2:51:25 )
3k: 8:37:22 ( 2:53:25 )
4k: 11:31:74 ( 2:54:52 )
5k: 14:18:86 ( 2:47:14 )
Last 5 laps: 34.37 – 34.44 – 33.71 – 33.26 – 31.34

We’ve got five thoughts on the performance below.

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Discuss this race on our world famous messageboard: G. Dibaba – 14:18.88 – Smashed Defar’s World Record by over 5 seconds!

1  Genzebe Dibaba 14:18.86 WR
2  Birtukan Fente 15:22.56
3 Birtukan Adamu 15:34.15
4 Alia Saeed Mohamed 15:34.70
5 Dagmawit Kidane 15:35.71
6 Jennifer Wenth 15:43.88
76 Katarzyna Broniatowska DNF
85 Tamara Tverdostup DNF

Quick Take #1: Genzebe Dibaba is the greatest indoor runner of all time

“Greatest indoor runner ever” isn’t a title many people think about because the sport’s truly important races — the World Championships and the Olympics — take place outdoors. But some runners do take the indoor season seriously, and Dibaba’s times indoors (3:55.17 1500, 8:16.60 3000, 9:00.48 2-mile and 14:18.86 5000) are much better than anything anyone has run outdoors recently. She may never have medalled at a global outdoor championship (her highest finish is eighth), but with two world indoor golds (2012 1500, 2014 3000) and four world records from 1500 to 5000, there is no doubt that Dibaba is the greatest ever indoors.

Dibaba delighted the crowd in Stockholm with her 14:18 Dibaba delighted the crowd in Stockholm with her 14:18

Quick Take #2: Let’s try to put this in perspective for you: Dibaba’s 2-mile split was faster than Jenny Simpson’s American record

How good is 14:18.86? Very good.

Two weeks ago in Boston, one of the highlights of the 2015 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix was Jenny Simpson’s 9:18.35 American record for 2 miles.

Well a 14:18.88 5000 evenly run would take Dibaba through 2 miles in 9:12.78. Based on Dibaba’s 3000 split (8:37.22) and what she ran for the next 1k, we’d estimate she actually ran through 2 miles in about 9:15.26.

Her 3000 split of 8:37.22 would also be a world leader (the next-fastest is Sally Kipyego‘s 8:41.72 at Millrose last week). Dibaba’s last 1k of 2:47.14 was just fractionally slower than what Shannon Rowbury ran her last 1k to win the Wanamaker mile last weekend (2:46.81).

Including outdoor times, Dibaba is now #3 on the all-time list at 5000 (#4 performance) as only Defar (14:12.88) and her older sister Tirunesh (14:11.15) have run faster.

Quick Take #3: Are indoor tracks faster than outdoor tracks?

We’ve heard many observers of the sport say recently that indoor tracks have become faster than outdoor tracks because the weather is always perfect and there is no wind resistance indoors. While it’s hard to definitively prove, anyone looking for evidence to support that point need look no further than Dibaba:

Event Indoor pb Outdoor pb
1500 3:55.17 3:57.54
3000 8:16.60 8:26.21
2 miles 9:00.48 9:14.28
5000 14:18.86 14:28.88

Of course, Dibaba is the exception to the rule as most runners have faster outdoor pbs than indoor pbs. But that’s also because most runners are in better shape outdoors as they aim to peak for Worlds/Olympics. Additionally, many of the world’s top runners skip the indoor season entirely. We justifiably hyped last week’s Wanamaker Mile at the Millrose Games, but outdoors that field wouldn’t be as strong as an average Diamond League mile/1500. We’d love to see how fast a race went if you put together a field like last year’s Monaco 1500 in peak shape indoors.

DIbaba was all alone for most of the race DIbaba was all alone for most of the race

Quick Take #4: This performance somewhat justifies Dibaba’s decision to focus on the 5000 this year outdoors

Ahead of last year’s World Athletics Gala, Dibaba told the IAAF that her aim will be to win 5000 gold in Beijing this August. At the time, we thought that was a bad idea. Dibaba did post a world leader in the 5000 last year outdoors (14:28.88) but plenty of her competitors (Defar, Tirunesh Dibaba, Vivian CheruiyotAlmaz Ayana) have run faster than that. None of the world’s top 1500 runners have come close to Dibaba’s 3:55.17 pb.

Now that she’s run 14:18.88, it lends a bit more credibility to her decision to run the 5000 at Worlds (no one has bettered that time since 2008), but it remains to be seen how she’ll handle women like Defar and Cheruiyot at Worlds in the 5000, two women against whom she is a combined 1-12.

In case you’re wondering if Dibaba could pull off the 1500/5000 double at Worlds, here is the schedule for those two events:

August 22: 1500 heats (11:15 a.m.)
August 23: 1500 semis (8:45 p.m.)
August 25: 1500 final (8:35 p.m.)
August 27: 5000 heats (9:40 a.m.)
August 30: 5000 final (7:15 p.m.)

Quick Take #5: Want to run fast? Go to Stockholm

The three fastest indoor 5000s of all-time have now been run at Stockholm’s Ericsson Globe, and it’s also where Dibaba set her 3000 world record last year.

Discuss this race on our world famous messageboard: G. Dibaba – 14:18.88 – Smashed Defar’s World Record by over 5 seconds!

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