Pre Classic Diary, 2017: Meet Celliphine Chespol, the future of the steeplechase


During the women's steeplechase, we had a revelation. Well, for the few hundred million watching on TV, streaming and following on social media. Celliphine Chespol, the young Kenyan who had caught Ruth Jebet on the final straight in Doha, was battling Jebet with real focus. Then, a nightmere, as her shoe was clipped, and she had to come to stop, fix said shoe and charge back into the lead. Not only did Celliphine charge into the lead, she ran 8:58, breaking the Meet record of one Ruth Jebet and also setting a new U 20 steeple record.

When I queried Oregon Track Club coach, Mark Rowland, a man who knows a bit about the steeplechase, having run 8:07.96, taking bronze in 1988 Olympics and silver in 1990 European Champs (Split), he thought the women should be able to run 8:50. I challenged with 8:45, but the savvy coach noted he would have to consider that. Our lively discussion about the steeplechase noted that Celliphine is the real thing.

The womens' steeplechase has become a battle of some of the finest women athletes in our sport, and each race is a battle between four to five global stars. With that kind of racing, that type of pressure and the fitness that they bring, watch the WR go down. And mark my word, Celliphine Chespol will hold the World record very soon. Chespol's hurdle technique is want, but her speed, her focus, and her drive overcome everything else.

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