Let’s go back to 17 July 2015. I was sitting in Monaco and was enthralled with the Monaco DL. Watching the women’s 1,500m was like watching Philip K. Dick novel. The pacemaker had hid the 800m in 2:06 and Dibaba was off! Over the last 700 meters, Genzebe Dibaba put nearly seven seconds on Sifan Hassan, who ran a PB of 3:56.05, which was a big PB, by .85.
The only problem was Genzebe Dibaba ran 3:50.07! The equivalent of a sub 4:09 mile!
Sifan Hassan was inconsolable! How could Genzebe Dibaba defeat her by nearly seven seconds?
Hassan was doing what all athletes do, questioning her training and racing.
I make the point that Hassan’s questioning in 2015 was when the mile record became only a matter of time…
Two years ago, it was announced that Sifan Hassan would beging training with Alberto Salazar, coach of Nike Oregon Project. She had been training with Alberto Salazar and Assistant Coach, Peter Julian.
It did not take long, as on 11 February 2017, Sifan Hassan won the Millrosre Mile in 4:19.89 from a big field. After the mile race, Jeff Benjamin, @runblogrun senior writer, took the following picture of Sifan Hassan and Shannon Rowbury, doing repeat 200ms after her fine race.
It was this attention to detail, and the confidence it builds in athletes, that has made huge difference in Sifan Hassan’s development in 2019. She began 2019 with a fine 1:05.45 in the half marathon on 7 April 2019. Less than a month later, Sifan ran the 10,000m in 31:18.12 on 2 May at the Payton Jordan.
Sifan raced herself into shape. Three big 1,500ms! On 18 May, in Shanghai, Sifan Hassan took fifth in 4:01.91. Three days later (May 19, 2019), in Nanjing, Sifan Hassan ran 4:00.53.
On the 9 June 2019, Sifan Hassan, hoping for a European record, ran the EL of 14:38.54, second place, at FBK Hengelo.
That just prepped Hassan, as she sets a PB at 1,500m of 3:55.93, her first 1,500m PB since 17 July 2015!
The women’s 3000m at Pre Classic on 30 June was historic. Her ferocious last lap, gave her 8:18.49, and what should be the WR for 3000 meters outdoors. That the race was run on a hot California day should not be discounted.
The mile in Monaco was brilliant.
The pace maker hit the 400m in 64.06, and the 800m in 2:08.20. By now, Sifan Hassan was in first and she and Gudaf Tsegay had pulled away. The key to the race was lap 3, which Hassan ran in 61.93, well within herself. Look at Gudaf Tsegay grimace over the entire lap three.
The final lap, just under 62 seconds, showed that Hassan has both strength and speed.
4:12.33 was the final time. After twenty-three years, the 4:12.56 of Svetlana Masterkova, the 1996 Olympic gold medalist at 800m and 1,500m.
How did Sifan feel right after?
Sifan told the mixed zone team:
“I knew i could run fast, but the first 800 was a bit slow, so after that i wasn’t thinking it would be a world record. When i crossed the line i was so surprised. After you run the last 400 like that, and set a world record, it gives me so much confidence over 5000m. I want to double over 1500 and 5000 in Doha and the way i finished the last 400 there, it’s amazing – to run a world record the way i did makes me so happy!”
What will Sifan run in Doha? Is a double in order? We will have to wait and see, but for this weekend, Sifan Hassan should take great pride in gaining her mile world record the old fashioned way: she earned it.