Faith Kipyegon, in her own words (with a little help from Laura Muir)
I have had an amazing privilege this year. I was in the stadium when Faith Kipyegon broke the world record at 1500m (Florence), the 5000m (Paris) and the mile (Monaco), and to speak to her after each race. I was also in the stadium when she won her world title in Budapest this week. (I have also been privileged to see her win two Olympic titles, now five world championship medals, Diamond League finals etc).
Rather than attempt to analyse and evaluate her performances this year, I will use Faith’s own words and the perspective of Laura Muir as an athlete running in the races:
Florence 1500m 3:49.11
Kipyegon said afterwards: “I had a good finish and felt very, very strong at the end. I knew I had broken the world record when I crossed the finish line. I knew everything was possible. After 1000m, when the pacemaker went out, I just pushed myself towards the finish line. I did not know it would be the world record, but I was pushing myself, and I felt that the rest of the field was far behind. I thank God for this and my fans for praying for me”.
Faith Kipyegon becomes the first woman under 3:50 at 1,500m with 3:49.11 WR at Florence DL, photo by Diamond League AG /Matthew Quine.
Laura Muir commented: “It was great to be part of the world record race. I am so happy for Faith. I would have loved to be closer to her. I know I’m in good shape, but when you try to stick with the world record holder, it’s going to be tough. When you go through the first half of the race that quick, it will hurt, and you won’t be as fast at the end as you would like to be”.
See my AW interview with Faith afterwards https://twitter.com/i/status/1664738920335130626
Paris 5000m 14:05.20
Faith:“I just focused on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race. I just ran the race and waited to see what happened. When I saw that it was a WR, I was sooo surprised. It was all about giving my best. I just wanted to improve on my PB; the WR was not my plan. I am very emotional right now and do not know what to say. If my body is healthy, anything is possible.”
Faith Kipyegon sets her second WR of the year, 5000m, in Paris DL, photo by Diamond League AG.
Laura Muir: “It was brutal tonight. I mean to be in two world record races in a week!”
Monaco Mile 4:07.64
Faith commented afterwards, referring to the hugs and group photos, “It was a blessing to do this with these ladies. I can see that they are all happy for me; it is so emotional. It is a blessing; it just does not happen every time you run. I have to say ‘thank God for this’.
I really enjoyed the race. I wanted to chase the world record; thank God, it was amazing. When I started this season, my goal was to just break the 1500 WR. That was in my head and in my mind. Thank God I also did the 1 mile and the 5000”.
Faith Kipyegon runs 4:07.64 WR for the Mile, Wanda Diamond League Athletics Meeting
July 21, 2023, Monaco, photo by Kevin Morris
Laura Muir said: “Monaco always delivers. I felt really positive going into the race and ready to run well. I am so happy to run a 4:15 and break the British record. I knew I had to start off rather more conservative and I deliberately left that gap. I wanted to be conservative in the race’s first half and stronger in the second and I was.”.
See my post-race interview with Faith in Monaco
Faith Kipyegon https://twitter.com/i/status/1682483056366571526
Budapest 1500m 3:54.87
Faith commented: “This is a great season for me. To defend my title, to break the world records and become a world champion here. I told myself, ‘You are the strongest, and just keep going’. I was chasing history today, and I was chasing this title. I have done it. I was just running my race. We are all strong runners. I knew the ladies were strong, and I thank them for pushing me today. I wish everyone the best; we have to help each other in any way. That was my plan to get to the front and to go faster because I know these races can be up and down. I just got myself in front after 300m, and nobody was coming”.
Faith Kipyegon takes the 1,500m in Budapest! photo by Kevin Morris
Laura Muir: “The 1500 is crazy right now. Tonight, another global gold for Faith – I don’t think there was really ever any doubt about that”
I once heard the old British 400m hurdler, Kriss Akabusi, asked if he had ever run with Edwin Moses. His instant reply was: “No but I have run behind him a lot of times”. Quite a few women’s 1500m runners could say the same about Faith Kipyegon.
Faith Kipyegon, exhausted and exhilarated, photo by Getty Images for World Athletics