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.

Kenny Bednarek Makes History With 19.82/44.73 Double At JUCOs

One day after riding a blustering tailwind to the fastest wind-aided 200m in history, Indian Hills freshman Kenny Bednarek decided to give wind legal a try on the final day of the 2019 NJCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. The result? Still damn fast.

Shanghai Diamond League: Lyles Stuns Coleman, Samba Tops Benjamin

The second leg of the 2019 Diamond League season made its stop in Shanghai, China, on Saturday, and it was jam-packed with marquee matchups and tight finishes.

Kenny Bednarek Runs Fastest Wind-Aided 200m In History

If you’ve ever wondered how fast a world-class sprinter could run with a comically strong tailwind, Indian Hills Community College freshman Kenny Bednarek had your answer on Friday with his 19.49 200m (+6.1 m/s) in the 2019 NJCAA Track and Field prelims.

What Did It Take To Qualify For NCAA Prelims Over The Years?

Since the NCAA moved to a two-regional system in 2010, the qualification process for the NCAA Championships has consisted of the top 48 individuals and top 24 relays in the West and East regions competing for 12 qualifying spots during the last weekend of May.

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Samba/Benjamin Pt. I, McLaughlin Debut Headline Shanghai DL

The first six-ish weeks of the professional track season have offered one clear lesson: the late World Championships aren’t going to tamp down fast times. From Michael Norman’s 43.45 to Shaunae Miller-Uibo’s 49.05, it’s feeling like mid-August already. Perhaps the non-championship year in 2018 caused some energy and emotion to be bottled up, only being released in a year with a clear championship target. 

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Schneider, Praught-Leer Notch 5k Olympic Standards At Oxy

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NCAA Prelim Entries Reaction: Six Scratches You Need To Know

With Wednesday’s release of the NCAA East and West Preliminary Round declarations, we now know the 48 athletes in every individual event and 24 relay teams that will compete in Jacksonville and Sacramento for a spot at the NCAA Championships in Austin.

House Of Run: Evaluating The U.S. Performance At World Relays

Jason and Kevin discuss Matthew Boling’s epic weekend, the struggles of the US at the World Relays, Mondo Duplantis’ collegiate record, a big NCAA upset, an American record in the 25K and this weekend’s Shanghai Diamond League.

Infinite Tucker's SEC Superman Dive Deserved An Article

The following is an actual conversation between FloTrack writers Kevin Sully and Lincoln Shryack regarding Infinite Tucker’s Superman dive to win the SEC 400m hurdles title over the weekend.

Mondo Breaks Collegiate Record, Roberts Upsets Holloway

Ever since Mondo Duplantis stepped on campus at LSU, breaking the collegiate record seemed inevitable. That’s a logical assumption when you vault 6.05 meters en route to a gold medal at the European Championships before you begin your freshman year.