Sifan Hassan stepped off the track on her season’s debut in Monaco last month but the Dutchwoman was back to her usual auspicious form again this evening (4), smashing the one hour world record.
Looks can be deceptive though as the world 1500m and 10,000m champion admitted that she didn’t feel well at the start of the race - or indeed in the early stages of the record attempt. “I didn’t feel good before the start of the race, I even puked! After thirty minutes of racing, I finally felt better. It was in the final twenty minutes that I gained the confidence I needed,” said Hassan.
Hassan added more than one lap to the previous record of 18,517 metres which was set by Ethiopia’s Dire Tune in 2008. Assisted by pacemakers for more than half-an-hour and then guided by the innovative wave light technology, Hassan tallied 18,930 metres in the 60 minutes.
There was no question the record was going to be beaten by a significant margin although who would gain ownership of it took much longer to be determined. Hassan followed in the slipstream of Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei in the latter stages but Hassan drew on her blistering pace to kick past Kosgei with less than a minute on the clock.
“An hour is long; it takes a lot of concentration and focus. After the first half I found my rhythm. I’m really happy with this record!” said Hassan, who will be seeking another fast time over 5000m in Ostrava on Tuesday (8) night.
Making her track debut Kosgei also finished comfortably inside the previous record but the Kenyan was later disqualified for taking half a step on the in-field. This allowed European 10,000m champion Lonah Chemtai Salpeter from Israel to take a distant runner-up spot with 18,571 metres.
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Hassan opened the programme with a world record and the programme ended with two in the men’s hour. Mo Farah eclipsed Haile Gebrselassie’s long-standing world record with 21,330 metres to finish just ahead of his training partner Bashir Abdi from Belgium.
"I was very excited to be back on the track. When the organisation asked me to attack the one hour world record, I was really happy and motivated, certainly with all the meets getting canceled," said Farah who was making his first appearance on the track in three years after a foray to the marathon.
"My first meet back on the track was what was driving me. I knew I was in a great shape after the hard work I did in the last six weeks. My aim was to go after the world record with Bashir. We did a lot of work together the last six weeks and were totally focused on getting that time," he added.
Abdi also surpassed Gebrselassie’s previous world record with 21,322 metres but he has been credited with the world 20,000m best and European record of 56:20.02 - World Athletics dropped the distance as an official world record from 1 November 2019 but European Athletics still maintains it as a record event - after leading Farah by half-a-stride at that juncture of the race. Like Farah, Abdi has been largely focusing on the marathon since winning a silver medal in the 10,000m at the 2018 European Championships but he hinted he might have some unfinished business with the track.
"Next time it is my turn to take a world record! By not winning today, I gave myself a reason to come back on the track. Since I was running in Belgium, I felt like I had to do something special and that's why I followed Mo until I was dead. I knew he is faster at the end and I tried to take a gap on him, but you just can't get away from Mo Farah," he said.
After clearing each height through to a meeting record of 6.00m without any sizeable difficulties, Sweden's Armand Duplantis then raised the bar to a world outdoor record of 6.15m. The European champion is surely capable of bettering that record which belongs to Sergey Bubka in the not too distant future although none of his three attempts this evening were especially close.
But this was understandable as Duplantis embarked on a quick turnaround from the Lausanne Diamond League where he cleared an outdoor lifetime best of 6.07m in the latest instalment of his friendly rivalry with Sam Kendricks.
"After Lausanne I was in the right mood to jump high, I felt great, only my body wasn't 100% recovered yet. I feel I have the world record in me for the moment but everything has to fall into place," he said.
Full results here.