On Sunday, October 1, the World Road Running Championships kicked off its first ever 5-kilometer road race with a large contingent of experienced long-distance runners hoping to win the event’s inaugural title.
The road race was characterized by prolonged and intense competition between Ethiopians and Kenyans who battled to stay ahead of the competition. But ultimately, it was the 23-year old Beatrice Chebet who won the race.
Chebet for the win
Chebet, who triumphed in both team and senior race categories at this year’s World Cross Country Championships in Australia, demonstrated her remarkable endurance and speed once more.
Chebet, in the earlier stages of the race, positioned herself ahead of the rest, although she was not the leader. She remained consistent in her pace, striding along with fellow Kenyan Lilian Kasait Rengeruk. The Kenyan duo remained in the 9-woman leading group that passed the first kilometer in under three minutes. Uganda’s Joy Cheptoek and Rengeruk had passed the first kilometer mark in 2:55, while Chebet did so in 2:56.
However, as the race progressed and with their stamina weakening at each step, they slowed down and ran the second kilometer in 3 minutes and the third kilometer at the same time.
By the fourth kilometer, the competition had thinned out, and a battle between two Kenyan runners, Chebet and Rengeruk, and two Ethiopian runners, Ejigayehu Taye and Medina Eisa, emerged. The four ran close to each other and surpassed the rest. By the time they passed the 4km mark with a time of 11:48, Eisa began to drift away from the group and eventually fell behind the three runners. This time, Taye was in the lead, followed by Chebet, and Rengeruk in close pursuit.
In the last few hundred meters of the race, the camera zoomed out to reveal that Chebet, Rengeruk, Taye, and Eisa were now running at a seemingly synchronized pace. Chebet, however, quickly increased her speed and ultimately led the race to the finish line, where she broke the tape and became the first ever winner of the 5 km road race in the capital of Latvia, Riga.
Chebet finished with a time of 14:35, while her compatriot, Rengeruk, came in second with a time of 14:39. Taye and Eisa from Ethiopia came in third and fourth, respectively, with times of 14:40 and 14:41.
Results of Women’s 5 km event, as recorded by World Athletics:
1. Beatrice Chebet (Kenya) 14:35
2. Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (Kenya) 14:39
3. Ejgayehu Taye (Ethiopia) 14:40
4. Medina Eisa (Ethiopia) 14:41
5. Nadia Battocletti (Italy) 14:45
6. Joy Cheptoyek (Uganda) 14:50
7. Weini Kelati Frezghi (USA) 15:10
8. Verity Ockenden (Great Britain) 15:18
The photo above is from a YouTube Screengrab