Series30 Nov 2019

Fab five: world records set in 2019


Dalilah Muhammad with her world record figures on the clock in Doha (© AFP / Getty Images)

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.


Samuel Tefera

Indoor 1500m

Samuel Tefera wins the 1500m at the IAAF World Indoor Tour meeting in Birmingham


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.

Julien Wanders

Road 5km

Julien Wanders clocks 13:29 in Monaco


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

Mixed 4x400m relay team members Wilbert London, Allyson Felix, Courtney Okolo, and Michael Cherry at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019


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.

Dalilah Muhammad

400m hurdles

Dalilah Muhammad in the 400m hurdles at the IAAF World Athletics Championships Doha 2019


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.”

Brigid Kosgei


Brigid Kosgei wins the Chicago Marathon


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