Watch 18-Year-Old Eliud Kipchoge Beat Bekele And El G For A 5K World Title

This post is mostly an excuse to feature the incredible photo above that Victor Sailer got at the finish line of the 5K at the 2003 IAAF World Championships. That year at worlds, Kenenisa Bekele won the 10K on August 24; Hicham El Guerrouj won the 1500m on August 27. Those two men have the world records in those two events, and their clash in the 5000m final on August 31 promised to be an all-time great meeting in the middle. 

El Guerrouj wound it up with his trademark long drive from 800m out, running the penultimate lap in 60 and the last one in 53. Bekele finished right behind El Guerrouj, just like he would in the Olympic final a year later. But they were both beaten at the line by a teenager: Eliud Kipchoge. His winning time of 12:52.79 is still a meet record. The entire last thousand meters is spectacular, and worth watching:

That was the only gold Kipchoge would ever win on the track. As Bekele sharpened his kick, Kipchoge was left with silvers and bronzes at worlds and the Olympics over the next five years. But after he missed the 2012 Kenyan Olympic team, Kipchoge turned to marathoning, where he's built a resume that can credibly be called the greatest of all time. In the last 12 months alone, he ran 2:03:05 in London, won Olympic gold, and ran 2:00:25 at Nike's Breaking2.

Note: After this piece was originally published, Kipchoge broke the marathon world record in 2:01.39 at the 2018 Berlin Marathon

This is all obviously astonishing on its face. But I think I'm most blown away by Kipchoge's longevity. His two closest contemporaries are probably Bekele and Mo Farah, who are both two years older than Kipchoge. And their primes are not nearly as long as his. Kipchoge won his first global gold eight years before Farah did, and his most recent seven year's after Bekele's last. The closest historical comparison, Haile Gebrselassie, set the marathon world record 12 years after winning 10K Olympic gold, but his marathoning career mostly consisted of solo time trials in Dubai and Berlin. And anyway, Gebrselassie only won global golds seven years apart compared to Kipchoge's thirteen.

The way Kipchoge approached his career--maximize on the track, then go straight to marathoning once the ability to kick at a world-class level diminishes--is mostly outmoded among elite East Africans, who are increasingly going straight to the marathon. It's worth noting that Galen Rupp's career arc is very similar, but with a much lower pinnacle. It's no knock on Rupp that he probably won't ever run a 2:00:25 marathon. And we may never see another Eliud Kipchoge again. Hopefully he has a few more years in him.

Six Reasons We're Looking Forward To The NCAA Outdoor Track Season

As exciting as 200-meter ovals and banked curves are, we’re ready for the unpredictable weather, sprint relays and 10K races of spring track season. Here’s a few reasons to get excited for NCAA outdoor track and field.

FloTrack To Stream 2019 Boston Marathon In Europe

AUSTIN, Texas — March 18, 2019 — Today, FloSports, the innovator in live digital sports and original content, and the Boston Athletic Association, announced a partnership to provide live and on-demand coverage of the 2019 Boston Marathon on exclusively in over 40 European countries. 

Ethiopia's Belay Tilahun, Not Included In Elite Field, Wins NYC Half

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Linden, Chelimo Ready for United Airlines NYC Half On Sunday

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Grant Holloway Is Very Close To Being The Best Hurdler In The World

Holloway After 60mH AR & 60m Title

It’s tempting to view what Grant Holloway did over the weekend at the NCAA Indoor Championships-- 7.35 American record in the 60m hurdles and a 6.50 60m victory, plus third place finishes in the long jump and 4x400m-- as a man at the peak of his powers. But for an athlete with medal potential at October’s World Championships, the Florida superstar may only be scratching the surface of his ceiling in 2019.

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Grant Holloway stole the show, while Florida and Arkansas walked away with team titles. But what were some of the other takeaways from Birmingham? 

FloSports Announces 3rd Annual Hometown Heroes Program To Award $25,000

2019 Hometown Heroes Nominations

Nominations open now thru May 31 to identify communities’ most influential coaches!

The Diamond League Is Getting Smaller and Shorter

The IAAF announced significant changes to the Diamond League structure on Tuesday. Beginning in the 2020 season, the circuit will be scaled down from 14 to 12 meets, with a single 90-minute final meet at the end of the season.

2020 Olympic Qualifying Standards Released

Today the IAAF approved the 2020 Olympic qualifying standards which are going to be the hardest outdoor world championship standards ever.