He announced it and kept his word: Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei has broken the world record on a long-distance classic. In the ten kilometers he ran at a meeting specially organized for him in Valencia, Spain, 26.11.02. He thus dethrones a living legend. The previous world record was held by Kenenisa Bekele (26.17.53), was no less than 15 years old and was set on a Belgian track, in the King Baudouin Stadium during the Memorial Van Damme.
Improving a world record on a classic Olympic distance that has been standing for fifteen years, it is better than, for example, the improvement of the world hour record – a much less run distance – this corona season by Mo Farah at the Memorial Van Damme. Is it a surprise? Not quite. The 24-year-old Cheptegei is not only reigning world champion cross country running, he already took the world record in the 5 kilometers from the same Bekele earlier this season at the Diamond League of Monaco.
Which also played in Cheptegei’s favor: in those fifteen years – and especially in recent years – a true revolution in running shoes and spikes is underway. In addition, he received help from the same technological tool as in the summer in Monaco: LED lights that indicated the ideal pace along the side of the piste, the so-called Wavelight technology that also functioned as a virtual hare at the Memorial of Damme this season.
“Wants to show that athletics is still attractive”
“I wanted to live up to the expectations of the organization, which renamed the game World Record Day,” Cheptegei responded afterwards. “But above all, this is a dream come true. I have been trying to make history for some time and I am now successful. My intention is to show that athletics is still attractive, and I hope that with this achievement I can also give hope to anyone who is struggling in these corona times. By the way, I would like to make an appeal to follow the corona measures more strictly, so that we can return to normal faster. In the coming years, the Ugandan still has big plans. “My hunger has not yet been satisfied, I want to show even stronger things in the coming years,” he concluded.
Ethiopian Letensebet Gidey also takes record
Earlier in the evening, the Ethiopian Letensebet Gidey could also use it in Valencia. And with success. Her announced world record attempt also succeeded, she also improved a ‘very old’ best time. The 22-year-old vice-world champion in the 10,000m, with a chrono of 14.06.65 in the 5,000m, improved the world record of Tirunesh Dibaba (14.11.15), which dates from 2008.
Gidey was also amazed at her own performance. “How do I feel? Very happy of course ”, the Ethiopian said afterwards. “I’ve been dreaming about this for a long time. It is something very big that I can achieve. Valencia is also a nice place to walk, I must say, hopefully I can walk here more often. I am also happy that the record remains in Ethiopia, because I now follow Tirunesh Dibaba, one of my idols. ”