Courtney Frerichs broke the American record in the steeplechase in 9:00.85 at the Monaco Diamond League meeting on Friday, thereby handing seven-time U.S. champion Emma Coburn her first loss to an American in her signature event in three years.
Beatrice Chepkoech of Kenya set a blistering pace up front to break the world record by an astonishing eight seconds in 8:44.32. Only three other women in world history have ever broken nine minutes in the event and Chepkoech’s accomplishment is somewhat marred by the recent news that previous world record holder and reigning Olympic champion Ruth Jebet of Kenya is currently under investigation after testing positive for EPO.
Coburn and Frerichs sat in fifth and sixth for most of the race, while a few brave athletes attempted to match Chepkoech’s impossible pace. Frerichs, who won silver to Coburn’s gold at last summer’s IAAF World Championships, easily distanced her American rival in the final lap to take second behind Chepkoech.
Her time of 9:00.85 makes her the sixth-fastest woman in world history.
Coburn would finish in fourth with a time of 9:05.06, her fastest mark this season.
The last time Coburn lost to an American in the steeplechase was at the 2015 Brussels Diamond League meeting, when she finished seven seconds behind Stephanie Garcia for eighth overall.
The men’s steeplechase in Monaco saw Evan Jager come devastatingly close to breaking his own American record. He finished second behind Morocco’s Soufiane El Bakkali in 8:01.02, less than half a second off his record of 8:00.45, which dates back to 2015. El Bakkali’s winning time was 7:58.15, which marked his first run under eight minutes.
Reigning Olympic champion Matthew Centrowitz of the United States placed seventh in the 1500m in 3:31.77, his fastest time in three years and just over a second slower than his career-best mark. His top three fastest times were all recorded at Monaco’s Stade Louis II facility.
Timothy Cheruiyot of Kenya won the race with a world-leading mark of 3:28.41. 17-year-old Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway ran 3:31.18 to place fourth and become the fifth-fastest junior (under 20) athlete in world history. He is fastest-ever junior-aged athlete born outside of Kenya or Ethiopia.
Noah Lyles of the United States won the men’s 200m in 19.65, tying Wallace Spearmon as the eighth-fastest man in world history. Lyles is still only twenty years old.
The Bahamas’ Shaunae Miller-Uibo won the 400m in 48.97 over Salwa Eid Nasar of Bahrain, who ran 49.08. The reigning Olympic champion is the tenth woman in world history to break 49 seconds for 400m.