Cheptegei shatters Kenenisa’s 10,000 m world record


Joshua Cheptegei on Wednesday smashed the 10,000m track world record on a heady night of athletics in Valencia.
All the talk in the run-up to the meet was of Cheptegei’s assault on Kenenisa Bekele’s time of 26 minutes, 17.53 seconds, established in 2005 in Brussels.
The 24-year-old 10,000m world champion surpassed expectations, running the distance in 26 minutes, 11 seconds to cement his standing as the new middle distance maestro.
This was his third world record this year.
In February, he claimed the world 5km road record in Monaco. Then, after a period of COVID-19 lockdown in his native Uganda, he returned to Monaco and, in his first race back, wiped almost two seconds off Bekele’s 16-year-old track world record time over the 5,000m as he clocked 12 minutes, 35.36 seconds.
He becomes only the 10th athlete to concurrently hold the 5,000m and 10,000m world records.
Cheptegei served notice of his class when he took silver at the 2017 world championships in London when he was still just 20.
Last year, he went one better, collecting gold in Doha. He had already won the world cross country championship five months earlier.
Up to Wednesday Cheptegei only had the 18th quickest time over the distance with a best in Doha of 26 minutes, 48.36 seconds, over half a minute outside the record.
His performance in August boded well and he was assisted by some rapid pacemakers, notably Kenyan Nicholas Kimeli who was a world finalist over 5,000m, and electronic timing along the track.
Another factor for the fan of Manchester United was his footwear, Nike’s carbon-plated Vaporfly, worn by Ethiopia’s Gidey when she ran the earlier 5,000m in 14 minutes, 6.62 seconds.
The 22-year-old was lowering the previous mark of 14 minutes, 11.15 seconds held by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba since 2008 by more than four seconds.
Gidey put up the run of her short career a year after taking 10,000m silver at the world athletics championships in Doha.