DES MOINES — Dalilah Muhammad pulled away from her rivals in the final 100m to set a new world 400m hurdles record on the final day of the US Championships, clocking 52.20 on Sunday.
The Olympic champion started very aggressively to make up the stagger on the athletes outside her, including 2015 world silver medallist Shamier Little and world U20 record-holder Sydney McLaughlin.
Muhammad then shifted gears at the 150m mark to build a clear lead as she entered the final straight with Little, McLaughlin and Ashley Spencer locked in a battle for the runner-up spots.
With the race all wrapped up approaching the final barrier, Muhammad continued to pump her arms, as she charged through the line to take 0.14 off the previous world record, set in 2003 by Yuliya Pechonkina.
“I’m still in shock,” the 29-year-old said afterwards. “I broke the world record. I don’t think it’s hit me yet.”
McLaughlin, the world leader entering the race and the favorite for the title, finished second in a season’s best 52.88, while Spencer finished strongly to take third place in 53.11 and equalled her personal best.
“My coach kept telling me it was there,” Muhammad told NBC after the race.
“I just had to trust that and go for it. I wanted it so bad, I knew I had to go out there and prove myself.”
Muhammad, who reportedly had been on world record pace during some of her workouts, admitted that the record is something that has been on her mind.
“This year, the world record has been on my mind,” she revealed “I knew the field was so strong going in.”
Muhammad believes the current mark could also be lowered in the near future.
“I think we all decided going in, that’s what we would have to chase for to make the [world championships] team,” she added.
“I’m sure it’s not going to be too long before it’s broken again.”
Two-time reigning national champion Shamier Little was sitting comfortably in 3rd place in the home straight, but faded to fourth in 53.91.