A look at Faith Kipyegon's amazing year: World records and season punctuated by history


ATHLETICS A look at Faith Kipyegon's amazing year: World records and season punctuated by history

Abigael Wafula 17:48 - 25.12.2023

This article dives deep into the 2023 on and off-track achievements and setbacks of Faith Kipyegon.

Double world marathon record holder Faith Kipyegon has undoubtedly had the most amazing 2023 track and field season and come the 2024 season, she will be keen to extend her hot streak at the Olympic Games among other global events.

Kipyegon broke world records, defended her titles, and also became the first Kenyan to be awarded the women's World Athlete of the Year for track at the World Athletics Awards 2023 in Monaco. She was also beaten, only once, in the whole 2023 season.

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1) Victories and records

At the start of the season, it was evident that Kipyegon would do wonders and she surely lived up to people’s expectations. The double world champion started her season at the Sirikwa Classic Cross-country with a dominant win in the senior women’s race.

The 29-year-old then proceeded to start her track season at the Diamond League Meeting in Doha, Qatar, where she clocked a world-leading time of 3:58.57.

She did not rest on her laurels as she headed to the Diamond League Meeting in Florence, Italy, where she broke the 1500m world record. She clocked 3:49.11 to win the race.

Less than a week later, Kipyegon was in a class of her own as she proceeded to break the 5000m world record at the Diamond League Meeting in Paris, France.

She clocked 14:05.20 to win the race and outsmarted Ethiopia’s trailblazer Letesenbet Gidey who finished second. However, the 5000m world record has since been broken by another Ethiopian, Gudaf Tsegay.

Since she had a wildcard for the 1500m to the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, Kipyegon only vied for a ticket in the 5000m, and she managed to win the race during the trials.

She was not done with business yet and she proceeded to the Diamond League Meeting in Monaco and completely shattered the one-mile world record.

Kipyegon then stamped authority at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary, bagging both the 1500m and 5000m world titles, to write history as the first woman to win a double in the categories at the global showpiece.

She ended her track season on a high, winning her fifth Diamond League Trophy at the Prefontaine Classic, the Diamond League Meeting final.

2) Off-track success

Kipyegon has continued her winning streak off the track from being honoured by the Head of State, President William Ruto to receiving the highest honour from World Athletics.

The Kenyan was also awarded a house and more than Ksh10 million for her record-breaking exploits and her World Championships. Thanks to her hard work, Kipyegon’s father was awarded a car.

On top of that, Kipyegon was feted as the World Athlete of the Year for women's track at the World Athletics Awards 2023 in Monaco.

Kipyegon was also honored with the prestigious Elder of the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya (E.G.H) award, the highest civilian gong, during the Jamhuri Day celebrations to appreciate her extraordinary achievements this season.

During the celebrations, President Ruto said: "Today I have conferred upon our world-beating athlete Faith Kipyegon the ranked status of the Elder of Golden Heart, the highest honour our country awards its citizens who illuminate the path of excellence.

"She has earned her place at the very top—from running barefoot to breaking two world records within a year is the ultimate stage of heroism.”

3) Setbacks

Kipyegon has enjoyed an astonishing season, marking great milestones on all fronts and her only major setback was at the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia.

The mother of one, making her debut in the road mile, was beaten by Ethiopian youngsters to third place.

The Ethiopian duo of Diribe Welteji and Freweyni Hailu took the first and second places respectively as Kipyegon completed the podium. The loss was Kipyegon’s only defeat during the 2023 track and field season.