2021 Monaco Women’s Recap: Kipyegon Runs 3:51.07 to Beat Hassan, Coburn Falls in Sub-9:00 Chase & Muir Runs Huge PB (1:56) to Win 800

By LetsRun.com
July 9, 2021

The star-studded fields at the Monaco Diamond League promised fast times, and there were plenty of them on Friday, led by Faith Kipyegon’s stunning 3:51.07 to defeat reigning world champion Sifan Hassan in the 1500 meters. Kipyegon missed the world record by exactly one second to move to #4 on the all-time list.

There was also a win for Laura Muir (1:56.73), who went 1-2 in the 800 with training partner Jemma Reekie (1:56.96) to become the second and third Brits ever under 1:57 (American Kate Grace PR’d again in third in 1:57.20). Grace’s Team Boss squadmate Emma Coburn was not as fortunate, as she fell on the final water jump chasing her first career sub-9:00 and had to settle for fourth in the women’s steeple in 9:09.02 as Hyvin Kiyeng won in 9:03.82.

In non-distance action, Shaunae Miller-Uibo won the much-hyped 200 in a somewhat-disappointing 22.23, while American Katie Nageotte kept rolling by winning her fifth pole vault competition in a row.

Full recap and analysis of the women’s events in Monaco below. The men’s recap is here: 2021 Monaco Men’s Recap: Timothy Cheruiyot Wins (Again) in 3:28 PB, Nijel Amos Is Back, & Chaos in the Steeple After Bell Is Rung a Lap.

*Full results

Women’s 1500: Kipyegon takes down Hassan to move to #4 all-time

On the same track where Genzebe Dibaba set the 1500 world record in 2015 and Sifan Hassan set the mile world record in 2019, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon added to Monaco’s rich middle-distance history by running 3:51.07 to move to #4 on the all-time list, missing the world record by exactly one second.

With Hassan requesting world-record pace (61 seconds per lap), the early going was quick, with the field strung out behind pacer Chanelle Price just 300m into the race. After a 61.41 opening lap, Price stepped off after reaching 800 in 2:03.55. Only three women remained behind her: Hassan, Kipyegon, and Ethiopian Olympic trials winner Freweyni Hailu. Shortly after the bell, Hailu fell off, leaving Hassan and Kipyegon to battle it out as they did in Florence a month ago. This time, however, Kipyegon was stronger, going wide with 110 meters to go and attacking with a move that Hassan could not match. She put over two seconds on her down the home straight to win thanks to a 59.7 final 400 — a seriously fast close in a race won in 3:51.

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Hassan still managed a fine run for second — her 3:53.60 today was actually faster than what she ran in Florence — while Hailu was third in a pb of 3:56.28.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Faith KIPYEGON 10 JAN 1994 KEN 3:51.07
2. Sifan HASSAN 01 JAN 1993 NED 3:53.60
3. Freweyni HAILU 12 FEB 2001 ETH 3:56.28
4. Winnie NANYONDO 23 AUG 1993 UGA 4:01.18
5. Ciara MAGEEAN 12 MAR 1992 IRL 4:02.48
6. Esther GUERRERO 07 FEB 1990 ESP 4:02.53
7. Winny CHEBET 20 DEC 1990 KEN 4:02.77
8. Aurore FLEURY 04 DEC 1993 FRA 4:03.35
9. Hanna KLEIN 06 APR 1993 GER 4:03.42
10. Heather MACLEAN 31 AUG 1995 USA 4:03.63
11. Cory Ann MCGEE 29 MAY 1992 USA 4:04.20
12. Sara BENFARES 27 MAY 2001 GER 4:07.30
  Chanelle PRICE 22 AUG 1990 USA DNF

Quick Take: Kipyegon is your Olympic favorite…and may have just scared Hassan away from the 1500 in Tokyo

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Until this year, Kipyegon did not have the PRs to match Hassan or Dibaba. But based on her hardware — two global golds (2016 & 2017) and two silvers (2015 & 2019) — Kipyegon has a strong case as the greatest 1500 runner of her generation. That’s probably already the case, but a win in Tokyo would cement it, and that appears quite likely now.

Leading up to Monaco, Hassan, perhaps buoyed by her win over Kipyegon in Florence, floated the idea of an Olympic 1500-5k-10k triple. And if you’re beating the reigning Worlds silver medalist in Kipyegon, why not try it?

As track fans, we’d love to see Hassan still go for the triple. But the manner in which Kipyegon destroyed her over the final 100 today might convince Hassan and her coach Tim RowBerry to stick to just the 5k/10k, because based on today’s result, Kipyegon is on another level.

Kipyegon was a teenage phenom, winning the World Youth title in 2011 at age 17 and the World Junior title in 2012 at age 18. But now, at age 27, and after giving birth in 2018, she is running faster than ever.

“I came back after giving birth and I feel like a role model for the young mother out there and the young athletes,” Kipyegon said after the race. “I hope to show them that when you go for maternity leave, this does not mean the end of your career. You can come back strong and win races.” 

Kipyegon is now #4 on the all-time list, behind only Dibaba (3:50.07), Qu Yunxia (3:50.46), and Jiang Bo (3:50.98). Any time run by a Chinese woman in the ’90s is suspect, and thought there is no evidence linking Dibaba directly to performance-enhancing drugs — she’s never tested positive or served a ban — there have been questions about Jama Aden, the man who coached her to a world record in 2015.

Quick Take: Americans come up short in PR chase

Soon-to-be US Olympians Heather MacLean and Cory McGee came to Monaco in search of fast times. Neither MacLean (4:03.63) nor McGee (4:04.20) ran poorly tonight — MacLean ran her second-fastest time ever, McGee her fifth-fastest — but if you don’t bring your A game in Monaco, you will finish way down the field, and that’s what happened tonight as MacLean was 10th and McGee 11th. 

McGee might have actually had something close to her A game. She ran very aggressively and went for a big one as she hit 800 in 2:07.4 and was in 5th place. She actually was still in 5th place with 100 meters to go but took nearly 18 seconds to run that (17.9 – splits here).

Women’s steeple: Kiyeng wins again, Coburn falls on final water jump and misses another chance at sub-9

American steeplechase fans experienced shades of Evan Jager’s 2015 Paris Diamond League performance in this race, as Emma Coburn missed out on a chance at her first Diamond League win in seven years and first career sub-9 minute performance (and American record) when she fell off the final water jump. Coburn was running a strong race and neck-and-neck with leader Hyvin Kiyeng at the jump, but she struck the front of the barrier with her midfoot and landed awkwardly in the water, stumbling, falling, and slapping the track in frustration. Unlike Jager’s race, in which there’s no question that he would have broken 8:00 and won the race before he fell on the last barrier, there’s no telling whether Coburn would have broken 9:00 or even won this race, but she closed a big gap to Kiyeng on the final lap and would have been close.

Instead, 2015 world champ Kiyeng won in 9:03.82 for her second Diamond League victory in six days, while Coburn faded to fourth in 9:09.02, still less than a second off of her seasonal best. World record holder Beatrice Chepkoech and Bahrain’s Winfred Mutile Yavi passed Coburn after the fall and finished second and third, respectively.

Former Princeton runner Elizabeth Bird ran a British record of 9:22.80 for 7th.

The race

Unlike her race in Stockholm, Chepkoech did not go out too hard, allowing Kiyeng to lead the racers behind pacemaker Fancy Cherono. Cherono perfectly paced the field through 1k in a quick 2:58.78 and from there, Kiyeng controlled the race, adding surges to try to break the field. With four laps to go, Kiyeng opened up a small gap on Coburn and the field, but the top four runners bunched up again with three laps to go.

Kiyeng led at 2k in 6:00.84 and threw in another surge, gapping Coburn with 2 laps to go. At the penultimate water jump, Kiyeng led Coburn by 10+ meters and Coburn was 10+ meters ahead of Chepkoech and Yavi. Kiyeng was at 7:45 at the bell while Coburn was around 7:49, but Kiyeng looked spent, slowing down with 400 to go. Kiyeng mentioned after the race that she kicked a lap too early.

“There was some confusion because you saw I was starting to go very fast because I saw one lap remaining and after that one I heard the bell again, so that confused me, but I still won, so I am very happy,” Kiyeng said.

Coburn closed the big gap and pulled even with Kiyeng with 200 to go, but did not pass. She went to the inside on the water jump but misjudged her leap and fell. The lost time cost her second place as Chepkoech and Yavi kicked away to run 9:04.94 (seasonal best for Chepkoech) and 9:05.45.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Hyvin KIYENG 13 JAN 1992 KEN 9:03.82
2. Beatrice CHEPKOECH 06 JUL 1991 KEN 9:04.94
3. Winfred Mutile YAVI 31 DEC 1999 BRN 9:05.45
4. Emma COBURN 19 OCT 1990 USA 9:09.02
5. Gesa Felicitas KRAUSE 03 AUG 1992 GER 9:15.03
6. Genevieve GREGSON 04 AUG 1989 AUS 9:17.81
7. Elizabeth BIRD 04 OCT 1994 GBR 9:22.80
8. Lomi MULETA 29 NOV 2001 ETH 9:22.84
9. Irene SÁNCHEZ-ESCRIBANO 25 AUG 1992 ESP 9:33.72
  Purity KIRUI 13 AUG 1991 KEN DNF
  Fancy CHERONO 02 AUG 2001 KEN DNF

Quick Take: Coburn flew too close to the sun but still ran well

The fall was clearly disappointing for Coburn, as she’s been chasing the sub-9 for years and opportunities for fast races can be limited. She may have bitten off slightly more than she could chew by trying to cover Kiyeng’s various surges, as she looked tired before the fall, but this performance should not be discouraging. Coburn ran 9:08.22 to open her season May 28 in Doha, nearly six seconds behind Yavi. Today she ran 9:09.02 with a fall and getting up slowly. She would have been well under 9:08 and beaten Yavi soundly had she not fallen. Clearly Coburn’s fitness is good and she will be a major player in Tokyo.

Quick Take: Kiyeng is your Olympic favorite

Kiyeng is a former world champ, current Kenyan champ, and won two Diamond Leagues against good fields in six days. Today her pacing was uneven and she kicked a lap too early and yet she still won with a seasonal best. Chepkoech broke the road 5k world record this year and improved in each of her three steeple races, but lost to Kiyeng in all three and looks to be far from her 2018 (world record) and 2019 (world champion) form. Unless world leader Norah Jeruto, who has not raced since May and is reportedly attempting to compete for Kazakhstan, finds a way into the Olympics, it will take a big performance for anyone to beat Kiyeng in Tokyo. Coburn, Chepkoech, Yavi and 20-year-old Ethiopian Mekides Abebe (9:02.52 this year) are the biggest threats to join Kiyeng on the podium.

Women’s 800: Laura Muir wins a wild race

Many of the races in Monaco were billed as Olympic previews, but two of the top three finishers in tonight’s women’s 800 will not be running the event in Tokyo. Race winner Laura Muir, who took almost two seconds off her personal best to win in 1:56.73, was named to the British Olympic team in both the 800 and 1500 but announced yesterday she would only contest the 1500 in Tokyo. Third-placer Kate Grace — who ran 1:57.20, her third pb in nine days — did not make the US 800m team as she was only 7th in the Olympic Trials.

The race itself was crazy, and it began before the gun was even fired. Despite 10 women starting the race, lane 6 was inexplicably empty (Grace was listed as starting in lane 6 but she shared lane 8 with the pacemaker instead).

Once the race began, pacemaker Sahily Diago Mesa went out way too quickly even though the track featured pacing lights. Despite slowing before the end of the first lap, she still came through in a ludicrous 54.80, well ahead of the 57-second first 400 that was assigned. Mesa’s Cuban countrywoman Rose Mary Almanza, the winner in Stockholm on Sunday, was the only one who came close to following Diago Mesa, and though she hit 400 as the first racer in 55.7, the rest of the pack was already starting to reel her in and she would fade to last in 1:58.51. (Yes, the race was that deep that Almanza ran 1:58 and finished last).

Jamaica’s Natoya Goule, the runner-up in Stockholm behind Almanza, took the lead with 300 to go, with Grace sliding into second just before the final turn. Entering the home straight, Goule still led by a meter, but Grace, Muir, and her training partner Jemma Reekie were coming for her hard.

That remained the case midway down the home straight, but with Grace drifting (legally) away from the rail to prepare to pass Goule, Muir found herself squeezed out and blocked behind them. Which was unfortunate, because she had the most left of anyone in the race.

With 50 meters to go and no room to move in lanes 1 or 2, Muir took four steps to her right into lane 3. Finally, she had room to run, and she took advantage. Just 25 meters from the finish line, barely two seconds after Reekie had passed Goule into the lead, Muir passed Reekie on the outside to claim the win as the two training partners became just the second and third Brits to break 1:57 — Muir winning in 1:56.73 and Reekie second in 1:56.96.

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Laura MUIR 09 MAY 1993 GBR 1:56.73
2. Jemma REEKIE 06 MAR 1998 GBR 1:56.96
3. Kate GRACE 24 OCT 1988 USA 1:57.20
4. Natoya GOULE 30 MAR 1991 JAM 1:57.35
5. Habitam ALEMU 09 JUL 1997 ETH 1:57.71
6. Renelle LAMOTE 26 DEC 1993 FRA 1:57.98
7. Halimah NAKAAYI 14 OCT 1994 UGA 1:58.03
8. Catriona BISSET 01 MAR 1994 AUS 1:58.42
9. Rose Mary ALMANZA 13 JUL 1992 CUB 1:58.51
  Sahily DIAGO MESA 26 AUG 1995 CUB DNF

Quick Take: Is Muir regretting her decision to focus on the 1500 in Tokyo?

In our race preview, we wrote that Muir should ditch the 800 in Tokyo if she didn’t contend in this race. Muir didn’t even wait to see the outcome, announcing on Thursday that she would run the 1500 only and ceding her 800 spot to Alexandra Bell.

Muir may be rethinking that decision given what unfolded in Monaco tonight. Racing against most of the top Olympic 800 contenders (minus the Americans), Muir won in a huge personal best of 1:56.73. Meanwhile in the 1500, Faith Kipyegon ran 3:51.07 — a time over four seconds faster than Muir’s personal best — to win in dominant fashion.

That being said, 1500 is still Muir’s best shot at a medal. The runner-up in the 1500 tonight, Sifan Hassan (3:53.60), may not even run the 1500 in Tokyo, and outside of Kipyegon and Hassan. Gudaf Tsegay and Shelby Houlihan won’t be running the 1500 at the Olympics either, which means of the four women who beat her at the 2019 Worlds, it’s possible only Kipyegon will be in Tokyo. Meanwhile, in the 800, if you add in Athing Mu, Raevyn Rogers, and Ajee’ Wilson, Muir could easily be pushed off the podium.

But if she wants the gold, the 800 could be Muir’s best shot. Mu is in incredible form right now, but Kipyegon is even better and has an incredible championship record.

Quick Take: Kate Grace’s fine European season continues

After failing to make the US Olympic team in the 800 meters, no one would have blamed Kate Grace for staying home and enjoying the Fourth of July weekend with a barbecue. The 32-year-old Grace had other plans, running a 1:57.60 pb to win in Oslo just four days after the Trials. Grace PR’d again with her 1:57.36 in Stockholm on Sunday and again today with her 1:57.20. That is how you bounce back from disappointment.

Quick Take: The world champion PR’d and finished 7th

This was an exceptionally deep race, with six women breaking 1:58 and all nine finishers running 1:58.51 or faster. It was so deep, in fact, that Halimah Nakaayi of Uganda, the reigning world champion, ran a personal best of 1:58.03 and still only finished in 7th place.

Women’s 200: Miller-Uibo comes from behind to win

Midway through the women’s 200, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Marie Josée Ta Lou were way ahead of Shaunae Miller-Uibo but Miller-Uibo ran them down and got the win in 22.23, just ahead of Ta Lou who ran 22.25 as Fraser-Pryce totally misjudged this one and faded to a 22.48.

American Gabby Thomas, the world leader, scratched from this event yesterday. Considering Thomas ran 21.61 at USAs, the times tonight won’t intimidate her in the least. But by the transitive property, the winner tonight ran fairly similar to what Thomas did at USAs. At USAs, Thomas beat Tamara Clark by .37 and Dezerea Byrant by .63. Tonight Miller-Uibo beat Clark by .72 and Bryant by .56.

Final, Wind: +0.7

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Shaunae MILLER-UIBO 15 APR 1994 BAH 22.23
2. Marie-Josée TA LOU 18 NOV 1988 CIV 22.25
3. Shelly-Ann FRASER-PRYCE 27 DEC 1986 JAM 22.48
4. Mujinga KAMBUNDJI 17 JUN 1992 SUI 22.75
5. Dezerea BRYANT 27 APR 1993 USA 22.79
6. Tamara CLARK 09 JAN 1999 USA 22.95
7. Blessing OKAGBARE 09 OCT 1988 NGR 22.98

Field events

Women’s triple jump: Rojas is beaten for the first time since 2019

Two-time defending world champion Yulimar Rojas of Venezuela entered tonight’s competition riding a 10-meet winning streak that dated back to the end of the 2019 season. She had — by far — the longest jump of the competition tonight, going 15.12 meters in round two, well ahead of Shanieka Ricketts’ 14.75. Yet because of the Final 3 format, Rojas had to have the best jump in round 6 to win the competition, and though she uncorked a monster, she also stepped beyond the line and fouled, leaving Ricketts as your winner (she went 14.29 in round six as the other finalist, Patricia Mamona of Portugal, also fouled).

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark Wind
1. Shanieka RICKETTS 02 FEB 1992 JAM 14.75 +0.4
2. Yulimar ROJAS 21 OCT 1995 VEN 15.12 0.0
3. Patrícia MAMONA 21 NOV 1988 POR 14.66 -0.2
4. Ana PELETEIRO 02 DEC 1995 ESP 14.57 -0.8
5. Kimberly WILLIAMS 03 NOV 1988 JAM 14.50 -0.2
6. Senni SALMINEN 29 JAN 1996 FIN 14.34 0.0
7. Paraskevi PAPACHRISTOU 17 APR 1989 GRE 14.25 -0.2
8. Nubia SOARES 26 MAR 1996 BRA 14.11 -0.4
9. Dariya DERKACH 27 MAR 1993 ITA 13.81 -0.1

Women’s pole vault: Nageotte stays hot

US Olympic Trials champion and world leader Katie Nageotte continued her hot streak today, winning her fifth consecutive competition with a clearance of 4.90 meters. She was the only woman to clear 4.90 and then took three attempts at her PR height of 4.96. Reigning world champion and Authorized Neutral Athlete Anzhelika Sidorova was second with a 4.80 clearance, but she passed her second attempt at 4.90 and could not clear 4.96. Two-time global champ Katerina Stefanidi of Greece also cleared 4.80. American Sandi Morris was jumping on borrowed poles, as hers didn’t make it to Monaco on time and she borrowed some from Renaud Lavillenie, but she could only manage an opening-height clearance at 4.50 meters.

Women’s javelin: Spotakova wins

40-year old Barbora Špotáková, the 2008 and 2012 Olympic champ, came up clutch in round six with a 63.33 throw – her longest of the season (previous sb was just 61.38) and that was enough to give her the win in the “best 6th round throw wins it” format. 2021 world leader Maria Andrejczyk of Poland, the third longest thrower in history, only managed a 58.01 in round six. Andrejczyk did have the longest throw of the night, however: 63.63 in round 1.

Špotáková’s mark was a new masters WR. We’re wondering if she’s the oldest DL winner in any event?

MB:Barbora Špotáková won the javelin in Monaco at 40 today. Is she the oldest DL winner ever?

Place Name Birth Date Nat. Mark
1. Barbora ŠPOTÁKOVÁ 30 JUN 1981 CZE 63.08
2. Maria ANDREJCZYK 09 MAR 1996 POL 63.63
3. Christin HUSSONG 17 MAR 1994 GER 61.65
4. Tatsiana KHALADOVICH 21 JUN 1991 BLR 59.15
5. Elizabeth GLEADLE 05 DEC 1988 CAN 58.40
6. Nikola OGRODNÍKOVÁ 18 AUG 1990 CZE 56.87
7. Victoria HUDSON 28 MAY 1996 AUT 56.45

The men’s recap is here: 2021 Monaco Men’s Recap: Timothy Cheruiyot Wins (Again) in 3:28 PB, Nijel Amos Is Back, & Chaos in the Steeple After Bell Is Rung a Lap Early.

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