The Herculis meeting ended, as is tradition, with a pyrotechnic show on the infield. But the real fireworks at the IAAF Diamond League meeting in Monaco on Friday (17) came on the track about 50 minutes earlier.

Genzebe Dibaba achieved what many had believed to be unachievable, breaking the 1500m world record* with a time of 3:50.07.

Qu Yunxia’s mark of 3:50.46, set at the 1993 National Games, was considered to be one of the toughest world records on the books. But in a perfectly judged race, world indoor 800m champion Chanelle Price paced Dibaba through 400m in 1:00.31 and 800m in 2:04.52 before leaving the Ethiopian to finish.

Dibaba still had European champion Sifan Hassan for company as she passed the bell in 2:50.3, but the two-time world indoor champion kicked hard. With 100m left to run, it became clear that Dibaba was, at the very least, going to get close to the world record. But she charged for the line, crossing it in 3:50.07 to become the fastest 1500m runner in history.

In a race of great depth, six women ran faster than four minutes. Hassan clocked a national record of 3:56.05 in second, while Rowbury broke the North American record with 3:56.29 in third. 2011 world champion Jenny Simpson recorded her second-fastest time ever with 3:57.30 in fourth.

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