201008 Records
Ethiopian athlete Letesenbet Gidey (L) and Ugandan athlete Joshua Cheptegei pose after breaking the 5,000m and 10,000m track world records, respectively, during the NN Valencia World Record Day at the Turia stadium in Valencia on October 7, 2020. Image Credit: AFP

Valencia: Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei broke the men’s 10,000m track world record and Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey set a new women’s 5,000m mark on Wednesday in Valencia.

Cheptegei recorded a time of 26mins 11.00 seconds, beating the previous mark of 26min 17.53sec set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2005 in Brussels.

Gidey, 22, ran the 5,000m in 14 minutes 6.65 seconds, lowering the previous mark of 14min 11.15 held by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba since 2008 by over four seconds.

This was the third world record this year for 24-year-old 10,000m world champion Cheptegei, cementing his standing as the new middle distance maestro.

In February he claimed the world 5km road record in Monaco.

Then, after a period of coronavirus lockdown in Uganda, he returned to Monaco and, in his first race back, wiped almost two seconds off Bekele’s 16-year-old track world record time over the 5,000m as he clocked 12min 35.35sec.

Cheptegei served notice of his class when he took silver at the 2017 world championships in London when he was still just 20.

Last year he went one better, collecting gold in Doha. He had already won the world cross country championship five months earlier.

Up to Wednesday Cheptegei only had the 18th quickest time over the distance with a best in Doha of 26min 48.36secs, over half a minute outside the record.

But his performance in August boded well and he was assisted by some rapid pacemakers, notably the Kenyan Nicholas Kimeli who was a world finalist over 5,000 metres.

Another factor was his footware, Nike’s carbon-plated Nike Vaporfly also worn by Gidey.