Ugandan World Record Holder Wins 3rd Straight World Championship 10,000m

WITH PATIENT APPROACH, CHEPTEGEI WINS THIRD STRAIGHT WORLD 10,000M TITLEBy David Monti, @d9monti(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved





BUDAPEST (20-Aug) — Two-time defending champion Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda won his third straight world 10,000m title at the National Athletics Center here tonight by using the strength of a road racer and the speed of a miler.  Cheptegei, 26, the world record holder, followed every move by his opponents to assure himself of good position, then ripped the final lap in 53.5 seconds to put the race away.





Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda wins his third consecutive world 10,000m title at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)





“It’s special for me,” Cheptegei told Race Results Weekly.  “It’s my third world title: 2019, 2022 and now this year.  I can’t be more proud than that.”





 Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda celebrates after winning his third consecutive world 10,000m title at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)






In hot conditions (32C/90F) with 49% humidity, the field of 25 was hesitant to push the pace.  Cheptegei’s teammate, Joel Ayeko, ran a hot 62.9-second opening lap, but nobody bothered to respond.  Ayeko held the lead through 3000m (8:37.30), but he did so by running comfortable 70-second laps.  The field was running the same speed, just a few seconds behind.  Cheptegei was in no hurry to start the real racing.






“When you’re out there it’s kind of, you have a plan,” Cheptegei explained.  “But, when you go inside there it’s a different thing.”






What developed next was a churn at the front where some of his key rivals, like Berihu Aregawi and Selemon Barega of Ethiopia, took turns at the lead and made soft attempts to up the pace: a 66-second lap here, a 65-second lap there.  Not much changed until 8000m (22:42.2) when Aregawi took the pace down to 64.6 seconds to separate the front group of about ten athletes from the rest of the field.  Cheptegei continued to watch and wait.






“You have to read the game,” Cheptegei said.  “You have to be awake mentally and try to see what’s going to happen in the race.”






With two laps to go, Cheptegei had his plan ready.  He got on the front and ran the penultimate lap in 60 seconds flat. Only Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo and Benard Kibet, Ethiopia’s Aregawi and Barega, and Canada’s Moh Ahmed could stay close.





“I was confident waiting for the last 400 meters,” Cheptegei said.  “I needed to be in the lead.”





The others tried, but Cheptegei never relinquished his lead in the last lap, winning in 27:51.42, the slowest of his three winning times.  Behind him, Barega seemed to have second place locked up, but Ebenyo was coming up on him fast.





“I just tried,” Ebenyo told Race Results Weekly.  “I tell God, hey, give me chance, give me this chance.”






Barega was out of energy, but thought he had enough to hold second place.  But literally within the final meter, Ebenyo went past him on the inside to grab the silver medal in 27:52.60.  Barega had to settle for third just 12/100ths behind.






“I was watching him but I was not able to stretch my leg,” Barega said through a translator.  “I was watching him on screens.  I also thought that I already had crossed the line.”






Aregawi, who had put in a number of surges during the race, finished fourth in 27:55.71, and Kibet got fifth in 27:56.27.  Ahmed, who was fifth at the bell, ended up sixth in 27:56.43.






It was not a great day for the American team of Woody Kincaid, Joe Klecker and Sean McGorty.  Kincaid did best, finishing 11th in 28:08.71.  McGorty was 16th in 28:27.54, and Klecker was 20th in 29:03.41.  McGorty said that the heat really got to him.






“I think because we had ice vests when we first came out I was like, maybe this isn’t as bad as maybe I was expecting,” McGorty explained.  “But, it built.”FAST 1500M SEMI-FINALS






Both the men’s and women’s 1500m semi-finals were held tonight, and the athletes ran surprisingly fast.






Faith Kipyegon wins her 1500m semi-final at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest  (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)





Defending women’s champion, Faith Kipyegon, hammered the second of the two heats and won in 3:55.14, just one of nine women who broke 4:00 in the heat.  Kipyegon, twice the Olympic 1500m champion, perhaps wanted to tire out one of her key rivals, Sifan Hassan, who ran the 10,000m the night before.  Hassan looked unfazed, running 3:55.48 in third place just behind Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji (3:55.18).  Also advancing by virtue of finishing in the top-6 were Britain’s Laura Muir and Katie Snowden (3:56.36 and 3:56.72, respectively), and Australia’s Jessica Hull (3:57.85).





“I feel good; I’m looking forward to the final,” Kipyegon told reporters in the mixed zone.  “It won’t be an easy race, but we hope for the best.”






In the same heat, USA champion Nikki Hiltz ran a fast 4:00.84, but did not advance, finishing 11th.






“It’s just a different game now,” Hiltz told Race Results Weekly.  The reigning USA road mile champion added: “Like, I had to run 4:01 to make the final in Doha.  I ran 4-flat and it wasn’t good enough.  Yeah, it’s just a whole different game, but I’m proud of my season.”






The first heat was won by Kenya’s Nelly Chepchirchir in 4:02.14 ahead of Ethiopia’s Birke Haylom (4:02.46), Ireland’s Ciara Mageean (4:02.70), and the USA’s Cory McGee (4:02.71).  Britain’s Melissa Courtney-Bryant and Italy’s Ludovica Cavalli got the last two qualifying spots.






“I feel like I’m just leaning into my experience,” McGee told Race Results Weekly.  “I have a good idea of what time would be required based on the last couple of years.  I just went out there and tried to get the job done.”






Jakob Ingebrigtsen wins his 1500m semi-final at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (Photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)






Yared Nuguse of the USA (3:32.69) and Jakob Ingebrigtsen of Norway (3:34.98) won their respective heats of the men’s 1500m semi-finals.  Nuguse ran a very controlled race, using just enough energy to edge Kenya’s Abel Kipsang (who led most of the race) and the Netherlands’ Niels Laros.  Ingebrigtsen, who ran at the back of the race most of the way, rallied with 200 meters to go.  He zipped around the field, waving his arm and encouraging the crowd to cheer for him.






“I felt really controlled,” Nuguse said.  “You know, I have a lot of strength and I knew coming to the semi-finals I knew I would be really strong if I put myself in the right position.  That’s exactly what I did and I came away with a great result today.”






Other medal favorites who advanced to the final were Britain’s Josh Kerr and Neil Gourley, Spain’s Mario Garcia Romo, and the USA’s Cole Hocker.  Two big medal favorites were eliminated: Kenya’s Timothy Cheruiyot, the 2019 world champion, and Spain’s Mohamed Katir, the 2022 world championships bronze medalist.  Katir finished tenth in heat one, despite running a fast 3:33.56, and Cheruiyot was ninth in heat two in 3:37.40.






The women’s 1500m final takes place on Tuesday and the men’s will be held on Wednesday.

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