Beatrice Chepkoech broke the world record to win the 3000m steeplechase at the Herculis meeting on Friday, clocking 8:44.32 for victory, at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
The Kenyan won by more than 16 seconds, having gone through the 2000-metre point in 5:49.81, following an opening kilometre of 2:55.23,to become the first Kenyan woman to hold the 3000m steeplechase world record.
Chepkoech, who finished fourth at the 2016 Olympic Games and at the 2017 World Championships, held the previous world-leading mark with her 8:59.36 clocking at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Paris.
World silver medallist Courtney Frerichs finished second in a North American record of 9:00.85, with Kenya’s 2015 world champion Hyvin Kiyeng finishing third in 9:04.41,.
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.”