Sifan Hassan Wins 10,000 World Title With A 3:59 Final 1500
By LetsRun.com, September 28, 2019
DOHA, Qatar — In one of the most spectacular performances in women’s 10,000-meter history, Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands captured her global outdoor title by running her last 1500 meters in 3:59.09 (last 1600 in 4:17.15) to win the 2019 IAAF World Athletics Championship final in 30:17.23. Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, the 21-year-old two-time world junior cross country champion who did her best to break Hassan with 4 laps to go, earned her first global track medal in second in 30:21.23 as Agnes Tirop of Kenya, the 2015 world cross country champion, settled for third for the second straight Worlds in 30:25.75.
Reigning world 5000 and cross country champion Hellen Obiri of Kenya lost contact with the top three on the third-to-last lap and ended up fifth as she was passed at the line by compatriot Rosemary Wanjiru, who ran 30:35.75 to Obiri’s 30:35.82. World record holder and defending champ Almaz Ayana, who had only raced once all year, did not start.
The race – Two-time NCAA champ Susan Krumins (née Kuijken) of the Netherlands won the battle for top non-African-born honors that developed early when the three entrants from both Kenya and Ethiopia had gapped the field some nine laps into this race (Hassan would later join them), by finishing seventh in a personal best of 31:05.40, just ahead of the three Americans in the race — Marielle Hall (8th in a 32-second pb of 31:07.24), Molly Huddle (9th 31:07.24), and Emily Sisson (10th 31:12.56).
Hassan’s competitors did everything right in this one. In theory, when you are facing the world record holder in the mile, the strategy that should be employed in a 10,000 is to make the pace honest. That’s what the Kenyans and Ethiopians tried to do. After a 10:07 opening 3200 meters, Kenya’s Wanjiru went to the front and ratcheted down the pace. Almost instantly, the three Ethiopians and Kenyans separated from the field, with Hassan content to take her time to bridge the gap.
The third 1600 was covered in 4:47.96 as the leaders hit 5000 in 15:32. The pace slowed a bit as the 4th and 5th 1600s were run in the 4:53-54 range. With four laps remaining (25:59.75), six were still in the lead pack and Gidey realized she needed to try to do something so the race wouldn’t come down to a kick with the world record holder in the mile. She put in a big surge that broke the race wide open.
After a 64.39 lap, she had a three-meter lead on Tirop and Obiri, who in turn had two meters on Hassan. Gidey followed that up with a 65.32 lap, but the problem was Hassan hadn’t been broken — she was only 1.2 seconds back and was gaining on Gidey as Hassan had run a 65.72 and a 64.95. Hassan really started to eat up the gap on the back straight of the penultimate lap. With 500 meters to go, Hassan had closed the gap. What would she do? Like Mo Farah, Hassan wanted to control this from the front so she went to the lead with 450 meters remaining.
As Hassan hit the bell in 29:16.13 after a 4:30 sixth 1600, the question was what did she have left?
The answer: Plenty.
This was game over almost instantly as Hassan DESTROYED Gidey over the final 400, thanks to her remarkable 61.49 final lap. When it was all over, the stats almost seem to defy logic and certainly raised the bar on what many imagined was possible. Hassan ran the final 1500 meters of 30:17.23 10,000 in 3:59.09 to close out a second half of 14:43.80 (first half was 15:33.82). If everyone in the world lined up fresh for a 5000, someone running a 14:43.80 with a 3:59.1 last 1500 would have a great shot at winning gold. Hassan had just done this at the end of a 10,000.
Heck, if everyone in the world lined up fresh for a 1500 and went up against Hassan’s final 1500 tonight, she’d beat almost all of them. Jenny Simpson, the US runner-up this year and a four-time 1500 medalist between Worlds and the Olympics, has a 2019 season best of 3:59.83 — .74 slower than Hassan’s split tonight.
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