Sifan Hassan is a marvel on the track or on the street

Sifan Hassan is a marvel on the track or on the street

You know Dutch middle-distance runner Sifan Hassan, even if you don’t know her name. If you spent any time watching track and field (and wow do I wish this was more of a weekly sport here in the U.S.), you can’t miss her. Hassan won three medals in the Tokyo Olympics in 2021, taking the gold in both the 10,000 meters and the 5,0000 meters and winning bronze in the 1500. In April, she tried her hand at marathon running, and all she managed to do her first time out was win the London Marathon, and set a course record, despite stopping twice to stretch.

In August, she was back on the track, trying to repeat what she had done in Doha in 2019 in medaling in three different races at the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary. But in the 10,000 meters, Hassan collided with Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay in the final lap of the race, falling face-first into the track, scraping up her palms, and finishing 11th. Even so, Hassan went on to win silver in the 5000 meters and bronze in the 1500 meters.

Today, Hassan woke up, ran her first-ever marathon on U.S. soil, set an unofficial course record (that would have been a world record only a few weeks ago), and smashed the Chicago Marathon in two hours and thirteen minutes (2:13:44), a little over 13 minutes behind the winner of the men’s race, Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum, who notched another unofficial world record with his time of 2:00:35.

“We’ve never seen an athlete like Sifan Hassan” before may be the most apt thing ever said about the runner. The facts about her accomplishments read like a list of things that make you say “Is that true? That can’t be true. That’s true?” Like the fact that Hassan ran a grand total of 61 laps around the Olympic track in Tokyo on the way to her treble of medals. She ran the final 100 meters of her 10,000m gold -winning in 2021 in 13.6 seconds, even faster than Allyson Felix did in the final 100 meters of her 400 meters bronze.

Hassan emigrated to The Netherlands from Ethiopia at the age of 15, moving into a shelter for asylum seekers, where she told the supervisor looking after her that she wanted to run. And while she may be miles per hour faster than other marathoners, she sounded like a typical weekend racecourse warrior as she crossed the finish line in Chicago today. “Just so grateful. I’m so happy,” Hassan told onlookers at the finish line, “But the last five kilometers, I was telling myself ‘never again.’”

Original source here

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About the Author

Anthony Barnett
Anthony is the author of the Science & Technology section of ANH.