With no fans to cheer them on, four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah and Sifan Hassan both broke the rarely run one-hour world record at the Memorial Van Damme meeting.
In an empty stadium because of the coronavirus crisis, Hassan first improved the previous women’s mark of 18.517 kilometers set by Ethiopia’s Dire Tune at the Ostrava Golden Spike meeting in 2008 by covering 18.930 kilometers.
In the final race of the meeting, which is part of the Diamond League series, Farah broke Haile Gebrselassie’s 13-year-old record of 21,285 kilometers on his return to the track. Farah, who ran with his training partner Bashir Abdi, established a new world mark of 21.330 kilometers.
Abdi took the lead with five minutes left and challenged Farah until the closing stages but ended up eight meters behind.
Hassan and Kenya’s world marathon record-holder Brigid Kosgei fought toe to toe at the King Baudouin stadium. Hassan accelerated in the final minute to leave the marathon world-record holder powerless in her slipstream. Kosgei was later disqualified for stepping off the track.