Dubai: Mo Farah, Great Britain’s most successful track athlete was the toast of the evening as three world records came crashing down late on Friday.
Farah marked his post-pandemic return to competition with a new one-hour record for men, while Sifan Hassan of the Netherlands set a new one-hour mark for women at the Wanda Diamond League exhibition meeting at the King Baudouin Stadium in Brussels, Belgium.
Britain’s multiple world and Olympic champion held off the challenge of his training partner, home athlete Bashir Abdi, to set a new mark of 21,330m — eclipsing the 2007 mark of 21,285m set by Haile Gebrselassie even as Abdi finished eight metres behind.
Possibly the most successful British track athlete in modern Olympic Games history with gold medals in the 5,000m and 10,000m at successive 2012 and 2016 Olympic Games, Farah made his move making a break from Abdi with a minute to go.
The 37-year-old runner took to the home straight as the final 30 seconds approached and as the seconds ticked away coming into the final bend, he raced away with the new mark taking along with him a new record.
Hassan’s record came also came after a titanic battle with Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei, although it later transpired the latter had been disqualified for stepping on to the infield in the closing stages.
The Dutch world 1,500m and 10,000m champion reached 18,930 metres as the hour elapsed, beating the existing mark of 18,517 metres set by Ethiopia’s Dire Tune in 2008.
Yet another significant rewriting of a world mark occurred in Prague as RAK Half-Marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir smashed the women-only race world record in the half-marathon in Prague.
The 26-year-old Kenyan clocked 1:05.34 at the Prague 21.1km, shattering the previous record of 1:06.11 set by Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia at the World Half-Marathon Championships in 2018.
Breaking away from the small field just 20 minutes into the race, Jepchirchir set out on a ravaging pace over the 16.5-lap course in Prague’s Letna Park, passing 10km in 30:32. She slowed over the waning laps, but still finished well under the previous mark.
“I was thinking to run maybe 1:04:50, but I’m so happy,” Jepchirchir, who raced to the world half marathon title in 2016, said.
This is Jepchirchir’s second world record over the distance. She had clocked 1:05.06 in a mixed race in Ras Al Khaimah in 2017, a record which stood for just under two months before being broken.