Laura Muir Runs 3:55.22, Yes 3:55.22, to Crush British 1500m Record

August 27, 2016

Great Britain’s Laura Muir is now knocking on the door of the Chinese 1500m runners.

Muir ran 3:55.22 to win the Paris Diamond League 1500m, obliterate her national record of 3:57.49, and crush Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon in the process. It was a fabulous display of running from the Brit over the final 800m, which was covered in 2:01.17.

Muir, as she has done all year, ran aggressively. The pace early on was not unbelievably fast (63.97 at 400 and 2:09.24 at 800; 2:08 is 4:00 pace), but Muir had a lot left in the tank. She kept pushing on the third lap and went by the final rabbit with a little less than 500 to go and had a lead on the rest of the field which included Kipyegon and Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands. Muir kept powering around the track after hearing the bell and Hassan was the first to try to close the gap. A roughl61-secondnd lap from Muir put her at 1200 in 3:10.42 with a gap on Hassan and the rest of the field. Could she maintain it or would the bear jump on  her back just as in Rio?

Hassan got within 5 meters of Muir at 200m to go but Muir was flying around the track and not showing any signs of slowing down. While Kipyegon would move up to pass Hassan, no one was going to catch Muir. She powered across the line, threw her hands up, and cracked a smile as the clock showed an incredibly quick 3:55.22, a time only the Chinese, Eastern Europeans and world record holder Genzebe Dibaba have bettered. With the exception of Dibaba, no one in the world had run this fast in nearly 19 years.

Kipyegon got second, Hassan got 3rd, and Shannon Rowbury came up to edge Jenny Simpson before the line in 4th with a fading Dawit Seyaum ending up between them in 5th.

Analysis below video and results.

Video of race:


3:55.22 WLMRNR
3:57.13 SB
3:58.00 SB
3:58.09 PB
3:58.19 SB
3:59.96 PB
4:01.00 PB
4:01.46 PB
4:02.66 PB
4:03.22 PB

400m 64.00



MUIR Laura

Quick Thought #1: WTF 3:55.22

3:55.22 is super fast. Here is the all-time 1500m list after today. As you can see, with the exception of Genzebe Dibaba, no one had run this fast in nearly 19 years and the only ones to do it in the past were Chinese or Eastern Europeans.  A tremendous run.

3:50.07 1. Genzebe DIBABA 91 ETH F 1. Monaco (MON) 17.07.2015 AR, WR
3:50.46 2. Yunxia QU 72 CHN F 1. Beijing (CHN) 11.09.1993 AR
3:50.98 3. Jiang BO 77 CHN F 1. Shanghai (CHN) 18.10.1997
3:51.34 4. Yinglai LANG 79 CHN F 2. Shanghai (CHN) 18.10.1997
3:51.92 5. Junxia WANG 73 CHN F 2. Beijing (CHN) 11.09.1993
3:52.47 6. Tatyana KAZANKINA 51 URS F 1. Zürich (SUI) 13.08.1980 AR
3:53.91 7. Lili YIN 79 CHN F 3. Shanghai (CHN) 18.10.1997
3:53.96 8. Paula IVAN 63 ROU F 1. Seoul (KOR) 01.10.1988
3:53.97 9. Lixin LAN 79 CHN F 4. Shanghai (CHN) 18.10.1997
3:54.23 10. Olga DVIRNA 53 URS F1 1. Kiev (URS) 27.07.1982
3:54.52 11. Ling ZHANG 80 CHN F 5. Shanghai (CHN) 18.10.1997
3:55.07 12. Yanmei DONG 77 CHN F 6. Shanghai (CHN) 18.10.1997
3:55.22 13. Laura MUIR 93 GBR F 1. Paris (FRA) 27.08.2016

QT #2: She ran 3:55.22 off an opening 800 of 2:09.24: “That’s on the slow side. It really is and that’s a shame.”

The first 800 was only 2:09.24. That’s 4:02.3 pace. When they hit 800m, Tim Hutchings on the broadcast said, “That’s on the slow side. It really is and that’s a shame.” Yet, Muir ended up running 3:55. How? She didn’t let off the accelerator from there to the finish. After the 800, rabbit Judy Kiyeng too off down the backstretch, perhaps because the pace was slower than desired. Muir went right with her and kept attacking to the finish. A lot of women like to kick the final lap; Muir all season has shown she is not afraid to attack for much longer.

QT #3: How Did Muir Not Medal in Rio?

That is the question on people’s minds. In Rio, Muir was the only runner in the field to try to stay with Genzebe Dibaba and Faith Kipyegon after they made a very strong move to the finish after a slow opening 800. Muir ended up fading tremendously the final 200m. Tonight, Muir would not fade (her final 200m was likely 30 low). What was the difference? In Rio, the pace earlier on was slower (in Rio they hit 700 in 2:11, today they hit 800 in 2:09) and then much quicker to the finish. Muir clearly is much more suited to running 60-second pace off a moderate pace than trying to run 56-second pace off a slower pace. Muir showed tonight she can hang with Kipyegon, so her decision to try to hang with her in the Olympics doesn’t look quite as foolish now. This was a tremendous run.

One thing that was certain was Muir did not sharpen up between Rio and Paris. She did zero speed sessions saying, “The race was amazing, I couldn’t believe the time, especially since I didn’t do one track session since Rio. I just went with the pacemaker and I knew I had to dig in and hold on during the 3rd lap. I’ll be in Zurich next week to finish my season.”

Embed from Getty Images

QT #4 Season’s bests for Rowbury and Simpson

Rowbury and Simpson continued their rivalry with Rowbury getting the best of Simpson. Simpson has run under 3:58.20 in her life three times, and two of those times Shannon Rowbury has beaten her. Those are the two fastest runs of Shannon’s life. Rowbury usually loses to Simpson (lifetime Simpson has beaten her 19 times and lost 7 at 1500), but if she isn’t losing there is a good chance she’s running very fast.

Both Simpson and Rowbury were complimentary to Muir post-race when talking to Race Results Weekly. 

Simpson said, “Nothing lights a fire like the Olympic Games, both before and after. [Muir] is a tough runner. She was great before and I’m not surprised she was great today.”

Rowbury said, “I think in a way it was probably fun for Laura to be able to go out and show how fast she was, and same for me, to get a season’s best. I know I’m in shape for [an American record]. In retrospect I think today probably would have been a good day to try and get it but I didn’t anticipate it being that quick.”

Discuss: Laura MF Muir 3:55 

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