June 10, 2023 _ PARIS (Reuters) – A week after shattering the world record in the women’s 1,500 metres, Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon had no expectations of a world-beating time in the 5,000, a distance she had not contested in eight years, but managed to surprise herself.
The 29-year-old produced a stunning performance to crush the world 5,000 mark at the Paris Diamond League on Friday, beating world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia in the process.
Kipyegon passed Gidey with about 700 metres remaining to cross the line in 14 minutes 5.20 seconds, putting her hands across her face in disbelief when she spotted her time before collapsing in a joyous heap and receiving a hug from Gidey.
The twice Olympic and world champion over 1,500m had not even been thinking about breaking the record.
“I do not know how I made it,” Kipyegon said. “I just focused on the green light and tried to stay relaxed and enjoy the race. I just did the race and wanted to see what happens, when I saw that it was a world record I was so surprised.”
Gidey’s record of 14:06.62 was set on Oct. 7, 2020, in Valencia.
Posting on Instagram before Friday’s meet at Charlety Stadium that she hoped to run a “beautiful race,” Kipyegon definitely met that goal and more.
“It was all about giving my best,” said Kipyegon, who has a daughter, Alyn. “I just wanted to improve on my (personal best), the world record was not my plan. I just ran after Gidey, she is an amazing lady. It is amazing.
“I do not know what will be next, I still have to discuss it with my coach and my management. I am so happy, I am very emotional right now and do not know what to say. If my body is healthy, anything is possible.”
Kipyegon and Gidey pulled away from the rest of the pack by the 3,000 mark. Gidey, who had hoped to lower her own record, attempted to make a move down the final straight but could not keep pace with the Kenyan’s powerful kick.
It has been an amazing week for Kipyegon, who is the first Kenyan woman to hold the 5,000 record.
At the Florence Diamond League meeting last Friday Kipyegon set a world record when she ran 3:49.11 to break the 1,500 mark of 3:50.07 set by Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia in 2015.
(Reporting by Lori Ewing; Editing by Ken Ferris)