Faith Kipyegon

Faith Kipyegon in a file photo (Image Credits -Twitter/ @Kipyegon_Faith)

Faith Chepngetich Kipyegon, popularly known as Faith Kipyegon, is a Kenyan athlete who specializes in middle distance and long distance running events. She is a two-time Olympic champion, having won in 2016 and 2020 Summer Olympics. Additionally, she became the World Champion in 2017 and 2022, and is a two-time silver medalist at the World Athletics Championships.

Junior Athletic Career

At the young age of 16 in 2010, Kipyegon made her first international appearance at the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz, Poland. In the women’s junior race, she clinched the fourth position, the youngest among the top 21 runners, and also clinched the gold medal with her under-20 team. In the same year, she bagged third place in the 1500 meters at the Kenyan World Junior Championship Trials in Nairobi.

In the following year, Kipyegon competed in the 1500 meters at the World Youth Championships in Villeneuve-d’Ascq, France, and won the event. She outpaced two Ethiopian runners with a record-breaking time of 4:09.48. In her 2012 season, she established a national junior 1500 meter record of 4:03.82 in the Shanghai Diamond League meeting. 

The 18-year-old then won the Kenyan Junior Athletics Championships and claimed third place in the Kenyan Olympic Trials and earned her a place on the national team for the London Olympics 2012. During the World Junior Championships in Barcelona the following month, she recorded another championship record and won the gold with an impressive lead as she clocked 4:04.96.

However, she didn’t qualify for the semi-finals in the London Olympics, where she finished ninth in her heat with a time of 4:08.78. She bounced back in the 2013 season by successfully defending her junior title at the World Cross Country Championships in Bydgoszcz. On May 10th, at the Diamond League meeting in Doha, Qatar, she shattered the 4-minute barrier in the 1500 meters for the first time, setting an African U20 and Kenyan senior record of 3:56.98. Although she came second to Sweden’s Abeba Aregawi, she outran Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba who finished third.

Senior Athletic Career

Kipyegon started her 2016 Olympic campaign, winning the 1500m race at the Shanghai Diamond League on May 14. She improved her previous Kenyan record from 2013 to 3:56.82 and set the meeting record. Later in the year, she clinched the Olympic 1500m title in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, with a timing of 4:08.92, defeating Dibaba who finished at 4:10.27. Kipyegon also claimed her first Diamond League 1500m Trophy that year, winning races in Shanghai, Eugene (USA), and Brussels.

At the World Championships in London in 2017, Kipyegon scripted history as the first Kenyan woman to become the world 1500m champion and the third woman ever to win the Olympic and World Championships finals in this event. In 2020, she showcased her consistency by remaining unbeaten in all her six races in the Diamond League and Continental Tour meetings.

In 2021, she bettered her record on July 9 at the Monaco Herculis and took nearly three seconds off her previous best time, and recorded a world-leading 3:51.07. Later in the year, during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Kipyegon triumphed again in the women’s 1500m final. She overcame Hassan in the last 200m to clinch her second consecutive Olympic gold medal with a time of 3:53.11, shattering a 33-year-old Games record. This win made her the second woman to achieve back-to-back Olympic 1500m victories. In September, she defeated Hassan once more at the Zürich Weltklasse Diamond League final, earning her second 1500m Diamond Trophy. 

In May 2022, she won the 1500m event at the Eugene Diamond League in the USA. Later in July, at the World Championships also held in Eugene, she won the 1500m gold medal decisively with a time of 3:52.96, becoming the first woman to secure four global titles over this distance. Her successful season came to a great conclusion when she collected a win at the Zürich circuit’s final, where she won her third Diamond League 1500m title.

Medals at Major Championships

Event Total Gold Silver Bronze
Olympics 2 2 0 0
World Championships 4 2 2 0
World Relays 1 1 0 0
Diamond League 3 3 0 0

Personal Life

Faith Kipyegon was born on January 10, 1994, the eighth child in a family of nine. She spent her childhood on a farm in Ndabibit village, near Keringet in Kenya’s Nakuru County, part of the Kenyan Rift Valley. She is from the Kalenjin tribe. 

Faith’s sister, Beatrice Mutai, a specialist in 10km and half marathon events, used to train with her. Both their parents, Samuel Kipyegon Koech and Linah Koech, have connections with athletics, with Samuel having been a 400m and 800m runner in his younger days. Faith played soccer until she was 14 years old, when she discovered athletics at school. She attended Winners Girls High School in Keringet.

Faith is married to Timothy Kitum, an accomplished middle-distance runner and the bronze medallist in the 800m race at the 2012 Olympics. They have a daughter named Alyn, who was born in June 2018. Since late 2017, Faith has been training under the guidance of Patrick Sang in Kaptagat and Kapsabet. Sang is a three-time global silver medallist in the 3000m steeplechase and also coaches Eliud Kipchoge, the marathon world record holder.

Records set at Major Events

Competition Best Result Event Timing Position
Olympics Tokyo Olympics 2020 Women’s 1500m 3:53.11 Gold (Olympic Record)
World Championships Eugene, Oregon 2022 Women’s 1500m 3:52.96 Gold


Faith Kipyegon at Tokyo Olympics 2020 (Image Credits - Twitter/ @RailaOdinga)

Faith Kipyegon at Tokyo Olympics 2020 (Image Credits - Twitter/ @RailaOdinga)

Faith Kipyegon after setting the world record in Diamond League (Image Credits -Twitter/ @Kipyegon_Faith)

Faith Kipyegon after setting the world record in Diamond League (Image Credits -Twitter/ @Kipyegon_Faith)

Faith Kipyegon in Diamond League (Image Credits - Diamond League/ Matthew Quine)

Faith Kipyegon in Diamond League (Image Credits - Diamond League/ Matthew Quine)