NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 1 – World and Olympics 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon surprised even herself, running under four minutes in her first race after returning from maternity leave at the Prefontaine Classic in the United States on Sunday.
Just nine days after her daughter celebrated her first birthday, Kipyegon clocked 3:59.04 on her way to winning the 1500m race, a time that was a new facility record. She crossed the line ahead of Great Britain’s Laura Muir and United States’ Shelby Houlihan.
“I am so happy today to win on my comeback. It is a gift from God to come back and win, running under four minutes. I wanted to run at least under 4:10, but I came in and ran under four which was a great thing,” Kipyegon said after the race.
She added; “It is a great thing to be a mother and athlete. It is just about balancing the two and I am grateful I can do it.”
Kipyegon now says her target will be to defend her title at the World Championship in Doha in September, something she is confident she can do after an extended period of rest and recovery.
“My goal now is to go to Doha and defend my title. That is what I am looking forward to and training for. This was my first race and I now know what to add or balance more,” she added.
Meanwhile, Timothy Cheruiyot also picked up victory at the Prefontaine Classic, running 3:50.49 to clinch the Bowerman mile title. Bethwel Birgen was ninth while 1500m World Champion Elijah Manangoi came in 12th.
In the women’s 3000m, on form Hellen Obiri did not do as well, finishing sixth in 8:27.26 ahead of compatriots Agnes Tirop and Caroline Kipkurui. The race was won by Netherland’s Sifa Hassan.
World Record holder Beatrice Chepkoech meanwhile sizzled in the women’s steeplechase, winning the race in a world leading time of 8:55.58 ahead of USA’s Emma Coburn and compatriot Hyvin Kiyeng who came in second and third respectively.