Cheptegei, Gidey Get Their Long Distance Records Ratified

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Ugandan long distance runner Joshua Cheptegei’s 10,000m world record and the 5,000m record of Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey, which were set earlier this year, have been officially ratified.

Gidey’s 5,000m mark of 14:06.62 and Cheptegei’s 10,000m performance of 26:11.00 were both set at the aptly named ‘NN Valencia World Record Day’ on October 7.

Gidey went first, producing a stunning run that clipped more than four seconds from the previous record set by Tirunesh Dibaba 12 years earlier. A few minutes after the 22-year-old crossed the line, Cheptegei took his turn, churning out 25 laps of the track in an average of less than 63 seconds apiece to better Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old benchmark by more than six seconds. The records for those two events had never been broken on the same day.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey

The two-race meeting was held at Valencia’s Turia Stadium before a crowd limited to less than 150 due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Cheptegei’s performance had come 54 days after he broke the world 5000m record in Monaco.

“I wanted to show the sports lovers of the world that the track is exciting,” said the 24-year-old, who became the 10th man to hold the 5,000m and 10,000m world record concurrently, as per a World Athletics media release.

Alluding to the coronavirus pandemic, Cheptegei said, “In this difficult situation, I hope things like this can still give us joy and some hope for tomorrow.”

“I have been dreaming about this (setting a world record) for six years,” said Gidey, who hadn’t won a 5000m race since 2016. “I am very happy now,” he added.

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