Faith Kipyegon Becomes First Woman to Sweep 1500/5000m Titles at Worlds

BUDAPEST, Hungary – In a year where Faith Kipyegon has become the first woman to break 3:50 for 1500 meters and 4:10 for the mile, she added another unprecedented feat on Saturday night in Budapest, becoming the first woman to win the 1500 and 5000 meters at the same global championship.

After closing out her 1500 victory on Tuesday with a 56.63-second last lap, Kipyegon went even faster tonight, ripping her last 400 in 56.59 to win in 14:53.88. Unlike the 1500, however, Kipyegon was pushed in the home straight as 1500 bronze medalist Sifan Hassan took silver in 14:54.11 and world cross country champion Beatrice Chebet earned bronze in 14:54.33. Both Hassan (56.77) and Chebet (56.86) closed in under 57 seconds – usually enough to win a global title, but not against the incomparable Kipyegon, who added her first global 5000 title to go with the five she owns in the 1500.

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The pace in this one was slow throughout with the field hitting 3k in 9:16.55 (15:27 pace). By the bell, 14 of the 16 women in the final were still in the massive lead pack, turning the race into a mad 400-meter dash for glory. Kipyegon was at the front, however, and after pressing on the backstraight, she, Hassan, and Chebet had separated by the final turn. Hassan and Chebet put up a spirited fight, with Hassan showing impressive wheels for someone who won the London Marathon four months ago, but no one had an answer for Kipyegon’s incredible top gear (27.12 final 200). One surprise: reigning champ Gudaf Tsegay, the 10,000 champion from earlier in the meet, had nothing over the last lap, closing in 63.64 and finishing 13th.

Elise Cranny was the top American finisher for the second year in a row, matching her 2022 finish of 9th (14:59.22) while Alicia Monson was 14th in 15:04.08.

Women’s 5000 Results *Splits

1 KEN Faith KIPYEGON 14:53.88
2 NED Sifan HASSAN 14:54.11
3 KEN Beatrice CHEBET 14:54.33
4 KEN Margaret Chelimo KIPKEMBOI 14:56.62
5 ETH Ejgayehu TAYE 14:56.85
6 ETH Medina EISA 14:58.23
7 ETH Freweyni HAILU 14:58.31
8 JPN Nozomi TANAKA 14:58.99
9 USA Elise CRANNY 14:59.22
10 MEX Laura GALVÁN 14:59.32
10 KEN Lilian Kasait RENGERUK 14:59.32
12 NED Maureen KOSTER 15:00.78
13 ETH Gudaf TSEGAY 15:01.13
14 USA Alicia MONSON 15:04.08
15 BDI Francine NIYOMUKUNZI 15:15.01
16 ITA Nadia BATTOCLETTI 15:27.86

Quick Take: It’s a bit surprising no one tried to push the pace against Kipyegon, but that’s not a great option either

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Watching Kipyegon’s win tonight reminded us of Bernard Lagat‘s 1500/5k double in Osaka in 2007 — the last time someone earned double gold in those two events. After Lagat won the 1500, no one tried to push the pace and the winning time in the 5k was just 13:45 — which Lagat obviously won because he had the kick of a 1500 world champion.

Something similar happened tonight as no one tried to drop Kipyegon, but the rest of the field can be somewhat forgiven, at least compared to the men in the 2007 final. After all, Kipyegon, unlike Lagat, is also the world record holder in the 5,000. Dropping her before the bell would have been close to impossible and anyone who misjudged their effort could have wound up running themselves out of medal contention. Against someone as great as Kipyegon, there aren’t many great strategies.

Quick Take: Kipyegon’s 2023 season will go down as one of the greatest in the history of distance running

With world records in the 1500, mile, and 5k and world titles in the 1500 and 5k, Kipyegon has put together a season for the ages. She’s a shoo-in for World Athletics Athlete of the Year. The only question is whether this is the greatest year ever by a female distance runner. The answer may well be yes.

Quick Take: What should Kipyegon do next?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for World Athletics)

We debated this on the  Supporters Club podcast after the meet. Kipyegon is the undisputed GOAT of the 1500 and only seems to be improving in that event. Now she’s taken on the 5k and in her first season racing the distance since 2015 has become world champion and set the world record. Kipyegon has said one day she would like to move up and run the marathon, but she’s too good at the shorter stuff to leave the track right now.

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Our vote for her next move? Step down to the 800 and try to win the Olympics in that event next year. Remember, in 2016, Kipyegon won the Olympic 1500 by running her final 800 in 1:57.3. Considering Kipyegon would be running fresh and 2023 Kipyegon is better than the 2016 Kipyegon, it wouldn’t be a shock if she could run 1:55 or 1:56, which would put her in gold medal contention for the shorter event.

Quick Take: Sifan Hassan says sub-14:00 is coming

The post-race press conference offered a nice show of respect between the medalists. Kipyegon said that as they were preparing to receive their 1500 medals earlier in the meet, she asked Hassan how she won the London Marathon in April – a performance so incredible even Kipyegon could not quite comprehend it. Hassan responded by saying that she and the rest of this generation of stars will try to continue pushing the sport forward next year. Hassan has the Chicago Marathon in her sights on October 8 (six weeks away!) but after that she’d like to challenge the 5k world record along with her rivals.

“I just wanna see next year, we (Hassan and Kipyegon), Chebet, and Letesenbet [Gidey], we want to break 14:00 in the 5k,” Hassan said.

Quick Take: Alicia Monson and Elise Cranny know that to be better in the 5k, there are no secrets – you just have to be better at running

The US doesn’t have a great history in the women’s 5k, never earning a medal at Worlds or the Olympics, and its chances aren’t great at ending the drought right now considering the event is stronger than it’s ever been. Realistically, Monson and Cranny are just not ready to contend with the likes of Hassan, Kipyegon, and Chebet, who can all run in the 14:00s or low 14:10s and possess insane kicks. Against that level of competition, there is no strategy or magic bullet that can produce a medal. You just need to get super, super fit and super, super fast.

“Between Faith, Tsegay, Sifan, you have people running 3:51, sub-3:50,” Cranny said. “You’re not going to run away from them and they’re gonna have speed at the end. So it’s like figuring out how to at least match it or be close. It’s hard.”

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