2023 season recap: Top 5 exceptional races that got the world talking

Kenya's World Record holder Faith Kipyegon

2023 season recap: Top 5 exceptional races that got the world talking

Funmilayo Fameso 23:19 - 28.11.2023

So many races stood ou in the 2023 season. But which 5 are the absolute best that got the world talking?

The 2023 track and field season can be described as one of the best in history, as it was engaged with a series of record-breaking performances and results.

Top athletes proved their mettle in various events across different championships, while also birthing new superstars for the future.

With the season already ended and focus now on the incoming Olympic year, here's a flashback of the top 5 races that rocked the athletics world in 2023.

5 - Shericka Jackson's women's 100m victory at Eugene Diamond League

The race was a lineup of champions, featuring newly crowned world champion Sha'Carri Richardson, Olympic champion Elaine Thompson-Herah (who had just rediscovered her form), world 200m champion Shericka Jackson, five-time world champion Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce, Africa's fastest woman in history Marie-Josee Ta Lou, amongst other top contenders.

All eyes were on Richardson to perhaps snatch another win on home soil. However, Jamaica's world silver medallist Jackson had other ideas as she sped to the finish line in 10.70s to claim her first 100m Diamond League trophy. 

Shericka Jackson won the 2023 Diamond League titles in the 100m and 200m

Ta Lou, who took an early lead before Jackson started to hit her top speed settled for second in 10.75s, while Thompson-Herah finished third with a season’s best of 10.79s.

Despite Richardson not getting a podium placement with her fourth-place finish, the newly crowned world's fastest woman still made her presence felt. She walked to the blocks with a new look - her natural hair - flaunting it as she was introduced to the crowd.

Sha'Carri Richardson ran for the first time with her natural hair at the Eugene Diamond League

Her natural afro hair look went viral and is unarguably one of the season's highlights.

4 - Kelvin Kiptum's Marathon World Record in Chicago

In just his third career marathon run, Kelvin Kiptum did the unthinkable by breaking Eliud Kipchoge's World Record (WR) at the Chicago Marathon, running an incredible 2:00.35 to take 34 seconds off the previous record.

Kelvin Kiptum became the new marathon World Record holder in Chicago

By doing this, the 23-year-old Kenyan became the first man to break the 2:01 barrier. His victory was less than six months from his 2:01:25 London Marathon win, which saw him become the second-fastest marathon runner of all time, and his maiden race began with a 2:01:53 debut in Valencia last December.

Kiptum's ground-breaking run created several online conversations and controversies that got pundits analyzing the race for days.

3 - Sifan Hassan's stunning victory at the London Marathon

In her first-ever marathon race, double Olympic champion Sifan Hassan stunned the deepest women's marathon field in history to win the London Marathon in 2:18:34.

Sifan Hassan makes one of the greatest marathon comebacks in London
Sifan Hassan stunned an elite field to win the London Marathon

More intriguing about her victory was that she stopped twice in the first hour during mile 12 to stretch her quad/hip and trailed by 12 seconds at 20km.

The Dutch middle and long-distance runner made a huge recovery in a sprint finish at the final home stretch, completing one of the greatest comebacks in marathon history.

2 - Faith Kipyegon's 1500m World Record at Florence Diamond League

Double world and Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon broke Genzebe Dibaba’s WR with a sensational time of 3:49.11, confirming once again that she is the greatest middle-distance runner over the distance. 

Faith Kipyegon makes history, obliterates World Record in Fllorence
Faith Kipyegon after crossing the finish line in a new WR

The Kenyan track queen became the first woman to break the 3:50 barrier as she erased almost one second off the previous record. 

This race set the pace for a clutch of WRs she'll later run in the 5000m and one mile, which makes her one of the most outstanding female athletes of the year.

1 - Sha'Carri Richardson's blazing 100m final run at the World Championships in Budapest

In her first World Championships appearance, Sha'Carri Richardson reigned supreme in the women's 100m final as she clocked a jaw-dropping Championship Record of 10.65s to win the world title in Budapest.

Sha'Carri Richardson became the world's fastest woman in Budapest, after winning the 100m world title.

The American speedster ran from lane 9 with lesser pressure, moving past her rivals in the last 30m to cross the finish line as the new World Champion and world's fastest woman.

Her success meant she finally delivered on her talent and hype and showed up when it mattered most, making up for her past failures of not making a major championship.

This race was the most viewed in Budapest and deservedly takes the zenith position on this list.