Joshua Cheptegei Breaks 5K World Record, 12:35

Joshua Cheptegei Breaks 5K World Record, 12:35

Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda ran 12:35.36 to break Kenenisa Bekele's 5000m record.

Aug 14, 2020 by Kevin Sully
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Joshua Cheptegei backed up his bold pre-race talk, snatching a world record from a distance running legend. The 23-year-old from Ugandan ran 12:35.36 in the 5000m in Monaco on Friday, breaking Kenenisa Bekele’s existing world record of 12:37.35. That mark stood for 16 years and was seen as one of the hardest records in all of the sport.

Cheptegei’s previous personal best on the track was 12:57.41, but after running a road 5K in 12:51 in February, also in Monaco, a historic mark on the track looked possible. In the lead-up to the race, Cheptegei said that Bekele’s time was the target. 

With reported temperatures at 79 degrees Fahrenheit at the start, Cheptegei immediately took off at world record pace on Friday. He sat behind pacers for the first half of the race, clicking off splits between 60 and 61 seconds. 

The lead group passed 1000m in 2:31.87 and 2000m in 5:03.77. Matthew Ramsden, the final pacer, stepped off before 3000m, which Cheptegei hit in 7:35.14. But even without help, Cheptegei never budged off the pace.  

His 4000m split of 10:05.46 meant that he needed a final kilometer of just over 2:30. Cheptegei responded with both of his final laps under 60 seconds, crossing the final line with a smile on his face. 

Full splits below via the meet website

1: 1:00.70

2: 1:01.70

3: 1:00.64

4: 1:00.41

5: 1:01.25

6: 1:00.91

7: 1:00.03

8: 1:00.10

9: 1:00.18

10: 1:00.33

11: 59.97

12: 59.64