Joshua Cheptegei and Letesenbet Gidey smashed world records* over 10,000m and 5000m respectively at the aptly named NN Valencia World Record Day on Wednesday (7).
Gidey’s winning time of 14:06.62 took almost five seconds off the previous world 5000m record, set by fellow Ethiopian Tirunesh Dibaba in Oslo in 2008. Cheptegei, meanwhile, covered 10,000m in 26:xx.xx to break Kenenisa Bekele’s mark of 26:17.53, set in Brussels in 2005.
Spain’s Esther Guerrero paced Gidey through 1000m in 2:51.10, then world steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech took up the pace-making duties, going through 2000m in 5:42.73 and 3000m in 8:31.85.
Gidey had just the wavelight pacing technology for company over the final two kilometres and she doggedly stuck to the very front of the stream of blue lights. She reached 4000m in 11:19.17 and managed to crank up the tempo even more for the final 1000 metres, eventually crossing the finish line in 14:06.62.
Just five minutes later, Cheptegei took to the track for the 10,000m. The Ugandan, who won world titles at 10,000m and cross country last year, had broken the 5000m world record in Monaco earlier this year, clocking 12:35.36. Shortly after that run, he announced his intentions to break another of Bekele’s marks.
Australia’s Matthew Ramsden was the pacer for the first 3000m, bringing the small field through 3000m in 7:52.79. Kenya’s Nicolas Kimeli – who finished second to Cheptegei in his 5000m world record run in August – then led Cheptegei through the half-way mark in 13:07.73.
Cheptegei ran alone for the second half, but by this point he was locked into the required record pace. His 8000m split of 20:59.48 confirmed he was still on course for the world record.
With a 60-second final lap, Cheptegei crossed the line in 26:11.00. He now becomes the 10th man in history to concurrently hold the 5000m and 10,000m world records.
*Pending the usual ratification procedure