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Faith Kipyegon suffers rare loss at World Road Running Championships

Kipyegon finishes outside of the top two for the first time in four years at the World Road Running Championships in Latvia

Faith Kipyegon Photo by: Kevin Morris

Winning has become second nature for Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, to the point where it’s almost expected. However, in her last race of the season, the women’s mile at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, it marked the first time in four years that Kipyegon did not finish inside the top two, winning bronze in 4:24.13.

The road mile belonged to Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji, who sprinted to victory over the final 100m, setting a women’s only world record of 4:21.00, winning by two seconds over her compatriot Freweyni Hailu, who took the silver in 4:23.06.

Kipyegon had a remarkable 2023 season, setting world records in the 1,500m, mile, and 5,000m, in addition to winning world championship gold in the 1,500m and 5,000m. Her last finish outside of the top two came at the 2019 World Athletics Championships in Doha, where she placed fourth in the 1,500m semifinal (although she went on to win silver in the final behind Sifan Hassan).

Welteji had a strong season as well. The 21-year-old middle-distance runner finished second to Kipyegon in the 1,500m at Worlds in Budapest, then ran a personal best of 3:53.93 in her final track race of the season at the Diamond League final in Eugene, Ore, two weeks ago.

Faith Kipyegon Diribe welteji
Faith Kipyegon won her second-consecutive world 1,500m title in Budapest in August. Newly crowned road mile champion Diribe Welteji took silver. Photo: Kevin Morris

The reigning U Sports XC champion, Glynis Sim of Vancouver, made her world championship debut for Team Canada in the women’s mile, finishing 12th overall in a personal best time of 4:36.81. Canadian steeplechaser Regan Yee finished 22nd in 4:48.31.

The road mile became an official world record discipline earlier this year after a decision by the World Athletics Council. Riga, Latvia, hosted the first World Athletics Road Running Championships, featuring three road running distances. For full results from the championships, check here.

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