A deluge of world records have been posted in 2019. We highlight five (well, okay, seven) of the best during an unforgettable calendar year for the sport.
The Ethiopian teenager produced a sensational performance to trim 0.14 from Hicham El Guerrouj’s 22-year-old world indoor 1500m in Birmingham.
At the same British venue where Tefera was crowned world indoor 1500m champion 11 months earlier, pacemakers Bram Som went through 400m in 55.69 and Jordan Williamsz hit the 1000m mark in 2:21.27.
Tefera kicked past his compatriot Yomif Kejelcha at the bell and raced on to history, recording a stunning time of 3:31.04.
Less than 18 hours after Tefera’s blistering performance in Birmingham, Som returned to pace a second world record in successive days, helping Julien Wanders set a road 5km mark of 13:29 at the Herculis 5km.
On the streets of Monaco, the Kenya-based Swiss athlete survived an untimely bout of flu in the lead up to the event to shave one second from Bernard Kibet’s pending inaugural world record mark. The 5km road distance was introduced as a world record event in November 2017.
“I was a bit worried because I knew 13:30 was the old record and at the finish I saw 13:30,” said Wanders. “But then then they told me, ‘no, it was 13:29’, so I was very happy.”
Mixed 4x400m relay
Remarkably, the USA smashed the mixed 4x400m world record twice in as many days at the World Athletics Championships in Doha with entirely different quartets.
In the heats, Tyrell Richard, Jessica Beard, Jasmine Blocker and Obi Igbokwe posted a world record time of 3:12.42 in the fledgling event. Then in the final, the team of Wil London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo and Michael Cherry blitzed around the four-lap distance in a benchmark 3:09.34 to grab gold ahead of Jamaica.
The performance also secured Felix, the second leg runner, a record-breaking 12th world title.
The Olympic champion set not one but two world 400m hurdles records to take the event to a new realm.
The 29-year-old sliced 0.14 from the 16-year-old world record to record 52.20 at the US Championships in Des Moines before running even faster in Doha. In one of the highlights of the World Championships, the New York native blasted around the 400m oval in 52.16 to hold off her charging 20-year-old US teammate Sydney McLaughlin by just 0.07 to strike gold.
“This means so much,” she said in the wake of winning world gold and setting a world record. “It’s difficult to describe. I just wanted the world title so much but to break the world record again is fantastic.”
On an iconic weekend for road running, the Kenyan marathon runner dismantled Paula Radcliffe’s 16-year-old world record by a staggering 81 seconds with a dazzling performance on the streets of Chicago.
The 25-year-old defending champion had triumphed at April’s London Marathon in a PB of 2:18:20 but few would have predicted a performance of this magnitude.
Hitting the halfway mark in 1:06:59 suggested a finishing time of about 2:14 – and she went on to deliver, stopping the clock in a breath-taking 2:14:04 to erase the longest standing marathon world record in the modern era.
The previous day in Vienna, Eliud Kipchoge had made history by becoming the first person in history to cover the marathon distance within two hours, albeit in an unratified race.
Steve Landells for World Athletics