Faith Kipyegon (3:49.04) Breaks 1500m World Record as Jess Hull Runs Stunning 3:50.83 for 2nd

Kipyegon took .07 off her own mark from last year in Florence

Faith Kipyegon just keeps getting better. The 30-year-old Kenyan long ago cemented herself as the greatest female miler of all time and last year put together one of the greatest seasons in the history of distance running, breaking world records in the 1500 meters, mile, and 5,000 meters and winning double gold in the at the World Championships in the 1500 and 5,000. Of all of her performances last year, Kipyegon’s 3:49.11 world record for the 1500 in Florence stood as the crown jewel, slashing nearly a full second off Genzebe Dibaba‘s previous record (3:50.07) and establishing a new level of women’s middle-distance running.

Yet on Sunday, Kipyegon pushed that level even higher. Running on the same Stade Charléty track on which she set her 5,000m record last year, Kipyegon clocked 3:49.04 at the 2024 Meeting de Paris to shave .07 off her own world record in the women’s 1500 meters.

Making the run more incredible is the fact that Kipyegon missed time earlier this year due to a muscle injury. Kipyegon was forced to withdraw from her first two Diamond Leagues of the season and did not open her 2024 campaign until June 14 at the Kenyan Olympic Trials. But Kipyegon returned as if she had never left, earning dominant wins in the 1500 and 5,000 and running incredibly fast in each event (3:53.98 and 14:46.28) considering the Trials were held at more than 5,500 feet of altitude in Nairobi. Now, with the Olympics less than a month away, Kipyegon has shown that she is fitter than ever.

“It feels amazing to break the world record,” Kipyegon told meet organizers. “…After the trials I knew that I was in world record shape, I have run the quickest time in Kenya with the altitude…With my injury I was really scared, because I didn’t know if I was going to make it. But I took my time and trusted my team and stayed out of competition for long. I will absolutely do the double in Paris, in the 1500m and 5000m.”

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Kipyegon was not the only woman to run fast in Paris on Sunday. Australia’s Jessica Hull, who entered the day with a 3:55.97 personal best, stuck on Kipyegon like glue for the first three laps and held on to run 3:50.83, obliterating her pb by more than five seconds and moving to #5 on the all-time list. 2021 Olympic silver medalist Laura Muir, who was beaten at the British championships last weekend, took nearly a second off her own British record by running 3:53.79 for 3rd.

In all, 12 of the 13 finishers broke 4:00, easily the most ever in a single race. Previously, the most sub-4:00s in a single race was nine, a feat achieved in six races, most recently the Xiamen Diamond League in April.

The Race

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With the pacing lights set to Gudaf Tsegay‘s world lead of 3:50.30, a fast time was expected on a beautiful afternoon in the French capital (sunny, temps around 70 degrees Fahrenheit). While the early pacing was hot (61.42 through 400 for the pacer), Kipyegon (62.4 at 400) did not receive much of a drafting benefit as she ran 5+ meters behind the two pacers until she passed them at 800 (2:04.0 for Kipyegon).

Though Kipyegon was behind world record pace (3:49.11 pace is 2:02.19 for 800), she was right where she wanted to be: last year in Florence, she hit 800 in 2:04.1 but closed in 2:00.6 for her final 800 to get the record. The big surprise was that Kipyegon still had company.

Hull had tried to go with Kipyegon during her previous world record in Florence but was dropped by 800 meters — though she still hung on to run 3:57.29 in that race, an Australian record at the time. Once again, Hull went out with Kipyegon  in a world record attempt but this time Kipyegon could not shake her so easily. Even after Kipyegon ripped her third 400 in 60.8, Hull was right there with her.

“I knew Faith kept looking back at me in the backstraight, and I thought I must be running really fast here if she is worried,” Hull told meet organizers.

Kipyegon finally cracked open a gap on the back straight, then blasted away from Hull with a 29.8 final 200m (59.3 final lap, 2:00.3 final 800) to win by daylight in 3:49.11. But Hull was rewarded with her bravery with a 3:50.83 personal best, leaving many of the world’s top 1500-meter runners in the dust.

Results

PLACE ATHLETE COUNTRY RESULT PB/SB
1 KIPYEGON Faith KEN 3:49.04 WR
2 HULL Jessica AUS 3:50.83 AR PB
3 MUIR Laura GBR 3:53.79 NR PB
4 HALL Linden AUS 3:56.40 PB
5 BELL Georgia GBR 3:56.54 PB
6 EJORE Susan Lokayo KEN 3:57.26 PB
7 HEALY Sarah IRL 3:57.46 PB
8 GUILLEMOT Agathe FRA 3:58.05 NR PB
9 SNOWDEN Katie GBR 3:58.13 SB
10 MAGEEAN Ciara IRL 3:58.69 SB
11 GETACHEW Nigist ETH 3:58.98 PB
12 GUERRERO Esther ESP 3:59.74 PB
13 McGEE Cory Ann USA 4:01.18
DNF GALANT Martyna POL 800m 2:05.50
DNF GARCÍA Daniela ESP 800m 2:03.30
DNF PIZZO Charlotte FRA 800m 2:03.30

Split Times:

  • 400: ESP GARCÍA Daniela 1:01.42
  • 800: FRA PIZZO Charlotte 2:03.82
  • 1200: KEN KIPYEGON Faith 3:04.76

Lap Times:

1:01.42  1:02.40 1:00.94  59.32 (final 400)

(If you need a VPN to watch the video below click here)

Quick Take: It’s crazy that Kipyegon is in world record shape again this quickly

Courtesy DIAMOND LEAGUE AG FOR DIAMOND LEAGUE AG

One month ago, no one knew what to expect from Faith Kipyegon. With the Olympics less than two months away, Kipyegon had not raced at all due to injury. Could Kipyegon, who has not lost a 1500 in more than three years, be vulnerable in Paris?

Not on this evidence. Despite missing training this spring, Kipyegon is in the shape of her life. She now owns half of the ten fastest women’s 1500m times ever run and is on track to become the first woman ever to win the same track event at three Olympic Games.

Kipyegon’s brilliance and the supershoe revolution have completely rewritten the all-time list:

Women’s 1500 all-time performances

1. 3:49.04 Faith Kipyegon, 2024 Paris DL
2. 3:49.11 Faith Kipyegon, 2023 Florence DL
3. 3:50.07 Genzebe Dibaba, 2015 Monaco DL
4. 3:50.30 Gudaf Tsegay, 2024 Xiamen DL
5. 3:50.37 Faith Kipyegon, 2022 Monaco DL
6. 3:50.46 Qu Yunxia, 1993 Chinese National Games
7. 3:50.72 Faith Kipyegon, 2023 Eugene DL
8. 3:50.83 Jessica Hull, 2024 Paris DL
9. 3:50.98 Jiang Bo, 1997 Chinese National Games
10. 3:51.07 Faith Kipyegon, 2021 Monaco DL

Quick Take: Where did that come from, Jessica Hull?

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At the start of 2023, when Jessica Hull decided to leave the Nike Union Athletics Club so she could return to Australia to be coached by her father Simon, her pb stood at 3:58.81. Now it is 3:50.83, and only four women have ever run faster — Kipyegon, Genzebe Dibaba, Gudaf Tsegay, and Qu Yunxia. Hull was already world-class when she left UAC — her 3:58.81 was the Aussie record and she was 7th at the 2022 Worlds — but she has gone up a level since, perhaps several levels based on today’s evidence.

Hull had been running well in 2024, clocking a pb of 8:24 to take 4th at World Indoors in the 3,000 and running a big pb of 3:55.97 to finish second in the 1500 at Pre., but there was nothing to suggest she was a 3:50 woman.  Give Hull a lot of credit. She knew that with Kipyegon leading the way, she would not have a better opportunity to run fast, and she grabbed it with both hands. There is a world where Hull totally blows up after going out in 2:04, but sometimes to get a big reward, you have to take a big risk. That is what Hull did today.

Quick Take: Should the Americans be panicking?

One week ago, three Americans ran 3:55 in the same race at the Olympic Trials and US distance fans were buzzing about their medal chances in Paris. Now after today’s race — a race that did not include Ethiopians Tsegay (3:50 sb), Birke Haylom (3:53 sb), or Diribe Welteji (3:53 sb) — 3:55 does not seem as fast. Is it time to panic if you are Nikki HiltzEmily Mackay, or Elle St. Pierre?

Not quite. Kipyegon is close to a lock for gold, and Hull being in 3:50 shape and Muir (a two-time global medalist) being in 3:53 shape mean that it is going to be very tough to medal in Paris. And that is before even factoring in the Ethiopians. But it’s also worth remembering that Hiltz, Mackay, and St. Pierre all ran 3:55 in the Trials final in their third race in four days. In fact, for St. Pierre, who also ran the 5k in Eugene, it was her fifth race in 10 days, and she led basically all of that 3:55. So perhaps they go even faster if they’re all fresh in Paris.

And while seeing a 3:50 next to Hull’s name might be intimidating, it could also be inspiring for St. Pierre. Before today, St. Pierre and Hull had raced each other a number of times in 2024. And while Hull narrowly beat St. Pierre by .32 in the 3,000 at the New Balance Indoor Grand Prix and by .03 in the 1500 at Pre, St. Pierre also convincingly beat Hull by 2.62 seconds in the Wanamaker Mile and 3.52 seconds in the 3,000 at World Indoors. Rather than being worried about how fast Hull ran, St. Pierre might look at today’s result and think to herself, If Hull can run 3:50, why can’t I run 3:50?

The other good news for the Americans is that last year’s Worlds bronze medalist Sifan Hassan does not look to be in the same kind of form right now (she ran 4:04.83 for 5th in Hengelo today) and it seems foolish for her to try the 1500 considering it’s the night after the 10,000 final and the night before the marathon  final. And Tsegay could be tripling in Paris (she’s entered in the 1500, 5k, and 10k). Tsegay may not run all three races at the Olympics, but if she does, the 1500 final is the last one and less than 24 hours after than the 10k final. It will tough for her to be at her absolute best.

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