Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Kipyegon to star at World Athletics Road Championships

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2023 | 12:09 AM
Faith Kipyegon of Kenya
Faith Kipyegon of Kenya

For the first time since the launch of the World Relays in 2014, World Athletics is launching a new World Series event. The new event is the World Athletics Road Running Championships and it will take place tomorrow in Riga, Latvia. Among the 300 entrants is the outstanding Faith Kipyegon of Kenya who will contest the mile.

Riga is set to see competition for global titles in the road mile, 5km and half marathon and while Kipyegon leads the contingent of elite runners to the Latvian town, recreational runners from around the world will run in the same distances on the same day.

It will be the last race in a season in which the little Kenyan has been brilliant. In Budapest, at the 19th World Championships, she did an unprecedented 1500m/5000m double to follow world records at 1500 metres, the mile and the 5000.

Her time in the 1500m is compelling at three minutes 49.11 seconds, the first sub-3.50 by a woman.

Jamaica’s Adelle Tracey set a national record – 3:58.77 – in a Budapest semifinal won by the Kenyan and she says Kipyegon has helped everyone by going fast. “1500m running, I think, has really moved on because of Faith,” Tracey said.

“She’s setting the example and we’re all upping our game. To say that I’ve been running the 1500m two years and to already be sub-4, I know that’s because she’s setting the bar high and we’re all reaching for it,” the Jamaican said.

Speaking at the pre-championships press conference, World Athletics president Sebastian Coe expressed his joy. “We haven’t had a new World Athletics Series event since the inaugural World Relays in 2014,” Coe said.

“From a personal perspective, I’m delighted that we’ve been able to formally enshrine the mile in a world championships, melding it with the 5km and half marathon. It’s an important way of saying that, at every level, running is the most accessible and practised sport on the planet,” said the man who won the 1500m at the 1980 and 1984 Olympic Games.

Other than Kipyegon, the superstars will include Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir who is also from Kenya. She is seeking to win three world titles at the half marathon.

- Hubert Lawrence