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Faith Kipyegon gets 80% of votes for Women Athlete of the Year

Kipyegon was the 1500 GOAT two years ago and has only improved since then. We don’t know what the future holds – an Olympic triple? A marathon debut? – but we cannot wait to find out.

Welcome to LetsRun’s Best of 2023. We’re almost at the end of 2023, and with few events remaining on the calendar until January; we’re looking back at the year in running.

We kick off our year-end coverage by unveiling the 2023 Athletes of the Year

This was not a hard decision. Kipyegon didn’t just have the best season of any athlete in 2023 – she had one of the greatest seasons in the history of the sport.

Entering 2023 with two world and two Olympic titles under her belt, the 29-year-old Kipyegon was already firmly established as the greatest female miler ever. Though she had dominated the major championships, her attempts at a world record over the years had come up frustratingly short. She chased the 1000m WR during the COVID year of 2020 but missed it by .17. In 2022, when Kipyegon took a shot at the 1500 WR in Monaco, she came up .30 short.

In 2023, she made it look easy. After a season-opening win in Doha, Kipyegon attacked the 1500m world record in Florence on June 2 and destroyed it; clocking 3:49.11 to shave nearly a full second off Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07. One week later in Paris, running her first 5,000m in eight years, she took down that record too, dusting the previous record holder Letesenbet Gidey to run 14:05.20 thanks to a 60.6 last lap and 28.1 final 200. Then Kipyegon went to Monaco on July 21 and obliterated the mile world record, running 4:07.64 to take more than four seconds off the previous best.

At the Worlds in Budapest, Kipyegon easily won the 1500, then doubled back to win a stacked 5,000 over Olympic champ Sifan Hassan, world XC champ Beatrice Chebet, and world champ Gudaf Tsegay (who would break Kipyegon’s WR a month later). Kipyegon became the first woman to sweep the 1500 and 5,000 at global championships and demonstrated unparalleled closing speed – she ran her last lap in 56.63 to win the 1500 and 56.59 to win the 5,000.

The only blemish on an otherwise-perfect season? Kipyegon was sick at the inaugural road mile world championships in Riga and had to settle for bronze.

Kipyegon was the 1500 GOAT two years ago and has only improved since then. We don’t know what the future holds – an Olympic triple? A marathon debut? – but we cannot wait to find out.

In our fan poll, the fans agreed with our pick of Kipyegon.



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