Tue | Dec 5, 2023

Welteji stuns Kipyegon at World Road Running Champs

Published:Tuesday | October 3, 2023 | 12:06 AMHubert Lawrence/Gleaner Writer
Diribe Welteji wins the mile in Riga.
Diribe Welteji wins the mile in Riga.

The World Road Running Championships got off to a memorable start with two world records and a stunning upset on Sunday. With the Latvian town of Riga as host, the records came in the one-mile races. However, expected women’s mile champion Faith Kipyegon was defeated for the first time in 2023.

Though she has set track world records in the 1500 metres and the mile this year, the Kenyan lost to two Ethiopians – Diribe Welteji and Frewnyni Hailu – with Welteji, who was the runner-up to Kipyegon in the 1500m at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, setting a new world road standard of four minutes 20.98 seconds.

Welteji was the 2018 World Under-20 800m champion.

American Hobbs Kessler led four others under 3:57 with his world-record 3.56.13.

Kenya and Ethiopia cemented their joint status as the world’s pre-eminent distance-running powers. Beatrice Chebet led a Kenyan one-two in the women’s 5K in 14:35, with Lillian Rengeruk four seconds back. The Ethiopians struck back with a one-two of their own in the men’s 5K with Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha. The winner stopped the clock at 59:10.

Olympic women’s marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir anchored a Kenyan one-two-three in the half-marathon. This one was close, with Jepchirchir clocking 1:07:25 to win by just one second over Margaret Kipkemboi. In the last race of the first staging of this event, her compatriot Sebastian Sawe anchored another Kenyan sweep in 59:10.