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Kalkidan Gezahegne breaks women’s 10K world record

The Olympic bronze medalist won the race in 29:38, five seconds ahead of the previous record

Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne won the Giants Geneva 10K in Geneva, Switzerland on Sunday, setting a new world record in 29:38. Her time was five seconds faster than the previous record, set by Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei in 2017.

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Originally a 1,500m runner, Gezahegne, 30, won her first world indoor title in 2010 while still a teenager. She underwent Achilles tendon surgery in 2012 and ran very few races between 2014 and 2016. Since then, she has stepped up to the 10,000m and was the surprise bronze medalist in the event in Tokyo behind Sifan Hassan and Letesenbet Gidey. 

In only the fourth road race of her career, she went out fast, cruising through the 5 km mark in 14:46, five seconds ahead of Kenya’s Celliphine Chespol and Agnes Tirop. Just last weekend, Tirop set a women-only world record of 30:01 for 10 km.

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Gezahegne slowed only slightly in the second half, running the last 5 km in 14:51 to cross the line in 29:38. Tirop ended up in second in 30:20 and Chespol finished third in 30:28. World half-marathon record-holder Kibiwott Kandie won the men’s race in 26:51, followed by Kenya’s Felix Kipkoech in 26:57 and Boniface Kibiwott in 27:13.