Genzebe Dibaba Breaks 1500-Meter World Record

Genzebe Dibaba of Ethiopia ran 3:50.07 for 1500 meters today in Monaco, breaking the 22-year-old world record of 3:50.46 by Qu Yunxia of China, a mark that until this year had been considered invincible.

Shannon Rowbury finished third in 3:56.29 and broke Mary Slaney’s 32-year-old American record of 3:57.12. American Jenny Simpson was fourth in 3:57.30.

Dibaba had raised expectations with a 3:54.11 in Barcelona on July 8, which was the fastest women’s 1500 in 18 years. In the last 700 meters in Monaco, she accelerated and pulled away from Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands, the only woman who tried to stay with her early on. Hassan finished second in 3:56.05.

Today’s run was Dibaba’s first outdoor world record. Indoors, she holds world records at 1500 meters, 3,000 meters, two miles, and 5,000 meters. Dibaba’s older sister Tirunesh has the outdoor 5,000-meter world record.

The men’s 1500 was also fast. Reigning world champion Asbel Kiprop of Kenya led six men under 3:30. He ran 3:26.69 to become the third fastest man in history in the event behind Hicham El Guerrouj (3:26.00) and Bernard Lagat (3:26.34 while competing for Kenya).

Matthew Centrowitz was tenth in the tight pack behind Kiprop, but his 3:30.40 was fast enough to move him into third on the all-time U.S. list behind Lagat (3:29.30) and Sydney Maree (3:29.77).

The battle for second went to defending Olympic champion Taoufik Makhloufi in 3:28.75, with bronze medalist Abdelaati Iguider of Morocco next in 3:28.79. Mo Farah, who was a distant second to Kiprop in the early going, held on for fourth in 3:28.93. Nick Willis set the New Zealand record of 3:29.66.

Leo Manzano of the United States was just 13th, but his 3:36.16 gave him the qualifying time he needs for the upcoming IIAF World Championships in Beijing.

In an upset in the men’s 800, Amel Tuka of Bosnia and Herzegovina stormed down the homestretch in lane three to win in 1:42.51, the fastest time of 2015, ahead of Nijel Amos of Botswana (1:42.66) and Ayanleh Souleiman of Djibouti (1:42.97). Boris Berian of the United States was fourth in a personal best 1:43.34.

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