Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech broke the world record to win the 3000m steeplechase on Friday (20), clocking 8:44.32 at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
World silver medallist Courtney Frerichs finished second in a North American record of 9:00.85.
On a night of sensational running at a hot and humid Stade Louis II, Kenya’s Beatrice Chepkoech produced the crowning performance of the tenth IAAF Diamond League meeting of the season as she took more than eight seconds off the women’s world 3000m steeplechase record*, coming home, alone and triumphant, in 8:44.32.
That obliterated the mark of 8:52.78 set by Ruth Jebet of Bahrain in winning at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris in 2016, and the 8:58.78 set in Eugene last year by her compatriot Celliphine Chespol, who was on her shoulder halfway through this race but slipped back to a 10th-place finish in 9:12.05.
It was the fifth world record set at this gem of a meeting at the business end of the season.
The 27-year-old Chepkoech, who had come into this race with the fastest time of the season, 8:59.36, has never won a major global medal – missing a water jump and having to run back during last year’s World Championship final hardly helped her chances – but she gave an indication of her sharpness this season by taking silver in the Commonwealth Games 1500m final.
She was clear of the field with three laps remaining as the rising tone of the commentary highlighted the growing possibility of a monumental performance that was duly delivered.
“I wanted to break the world record, that was the plan from the beginning of the season,” said Chepkoech. “And I was aware the biggest chance would be at Monaco due to weather, crowds and the whole environment. And this plan worked well.
“I knew I was running fast splits, but I was not worried. I felt strong during the race. I was thinking maybe I can break 8:50 but not at all was I dreaming about 8:44. And this time still could be improved I’m sure. Maybe my next target could be to run under 8:40.
“It is a great feeling I brought back to Kenya the steeplechase world record. I’m very proud of it.”
In fact, she is the first Kenyan woman to hold the 3000m steeplechase world record.
Behind her, Courtney Frerichs of the United States, surprise world silver medallist last year behind compatriot Emma Coburn, made the most of the fabulous pace by pushing to the line for second place in a North American record of 9:00.85, with Kenya’s 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng finishing third in 9:04.41, one place ahead of Coburn, who clocked a season’s best of 9:05.06.