At the first real, full-field track meet of 2020, the world 10,000m champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda has broken Kenenisa Bekele’s world record in the 5,000m, with a performance of 12:35.36 at the Monaco Diamond League on Friday.
Bekele’s record, set back in 2004 at Hengelo when he was 21, was 12:37.35, and 16 years later against a spectacular backdrop at Monaco, Cheptegei has lowered it by almost two seconds.
As commentator Geoff Wightman said during the race, running a 5,000m at this pace is equivalent to running three back-to-back 4:02 miles, and then a very fast final lap.
— Brendan Bradford (@1bbradfo) August 14, 2020
With three pacemakers and an electronic rail-lighting system leading the way, the Ugandan took charge of the situation from the start, going through 3,000m in an incredibly quick 7:31 and opening up an 18m lead over Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli. (Kimeli finished second in 12:51.78, a six-second PB. Jacob Krop of Kenya was third, in 13:11.32.) Cheptegei’s splits were 60.70, 61.70, 60.64, 60.41, 61.25, 60.91, 60.03, 60.10, 60.18, 60.33, 59.97 and 59.64.
What a special and incredible night in monaco, thank you @MeetingHerculis for invite, I finally break 5000m World record 12:35:36. Special thanks to @GlobalSportsCom training crew, family @KagutaMuseveni @JanetMuseveni @HamsonObua travel support towards our travels pic.twitter.com/P6aUo8IeDj
— Joshua Cheptegei ???? ?? (@joshuacheptege1) August 15, 2020
Cheptegei ran incredibly consistent laps, closing in 59.64 and looking relaxed throughout, only grimacing in the last 50m – in fact, he even remembered to stop his watch at the finish line. The Ugandan also owns the 5K world record on the road at 12:51, also set in Monaco, back in February, before the pandemic.
During his WR run today, Cheptegei covered the final 3000m in 7:31.59
Cheptegei's official PB is 7:33.26
The Ugandan record is 7:30.95
Mo Farah's PB is 7:32.62
Last year's WL was 7:32.17
— Jon Mulkeen (@Statman_Jon) August 14, 2020
Here’s a video of Bekele’s 2004 race:
Bekele is expected to challenge Eliud Kipchoge at the London Marathon on October 4.