Exciting Debut: Inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships to Showcase Elite Athletes on the Global Stage!

World Athletics Road Running Championships to Attract Athletes from Over 90 Nations in Riga, Latvia

Indianapolis, September 30 – Athletes representing more than 90 nations will converge on the streets of Riga, Latvia, on October 1 for the debut of the prestigious World Athletics Road Running Championships. This highly anticipated event will see some of the globe’s premier long-distance athletes competing in the mile, 5K, and half marathon disciplines. Notably, Team USATF will be spearheaded by none other than the first male world record holder in the road mile.

Men’s Road Mile

This year’s national indoor 1500 and 3000 champion, Sam Prakel, clinched the USATF Road Mile Championships in Des Moines last April, clocking an impressive 4:01.21, subsequently ratified as the official world record for the mile on the road. Prakel’s track best for the mile came indoors in Boston in 2019, recording an impressive 3:50.94. He also secured the ninth spot at the World Indoor Championships in the 1500-meter event in 2022. Joining Prakel on the U.S. roster is the promising 20-year-old Hobbs Kessler, who claimed sixth place in the 1500 at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships and triumphed in two road miles this season. Kessler, notably, set a U.S. U20 record in the 1500 with an astounding 3:34.36 in 2021, further lowering it to 3:32.61 at the USATF LA GP in May.

Kenya’s Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot stands out as the fastest entrant in this competition, having established a world U20 record on the track with a remarkable 3:48.06, securing fifth place at the Diamond League Final in Eugene. Ethiopia’s Teddese Lemi, an eighth-place finisher in the 1500 at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, boasts a formidable 3:31.90 personal best for the 1500. The roster also includes notable names such as Australia’s Matthew Ramsden, who has clocked 3:51.23 on the track, and Kenya’s 1500 national champion, Kyumbe Munguti, who achieved his personal best of 3:34.02 in June and was part of Kenya’s victorious Mixed Relay team at the World Cross Country Championships in February.

Women’s Road Mile

Emerging as one of the most exciting young middle-distance athletes on the U.S. scene, Addison Wiley earned a third-place finish at the USATF Road Mile Championships with a time of 4:30.94. She continued to impress with outstanding performances on the track during the summer, including a remarkable 3:59.17 in the 1500 at the Brussels Diamond League meet, establishing herself as the fastest American teenager ever. Helen Schlachtenhaufen, who secured sixth place in the 1500 at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships, boasts a track mile personal best of 4:23.94, achieved at the Millrose Games in February.

The U.S. contingent faces stiff competition from Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon, who has rewritten the record books on the track, setting a world record of 4:07.64 in the mile at the Monaco Diamond League meet and becoming the first woman to break the 3:50 barrier in the 1500 with a 3:49.11 at the Florence Diamond League meet. Kipyegon also added the 5000 world record to her impressive list of accomplishments with a time of 14:05.20 in Paris. A double gold medalist in the 1500 and 5000 at Budapest, Kipyegon is the reigning Diamond League 1500 champion, boasting a season-best time of 3:50.72.

Ethiopia fields a strong trio of contenders, including World Championships 1500 silver medalist Diribe Welteji, who also finished as the runner-up at the Diamond League Final in Eugene, setting a personal best of 3:53.93. Welteji showcased her versatility by securing fourth place in the 800 at Oregon22 with a PB of 1:57.02. Freweyni Hailu, another Ethiopian athlete, posted a notable time of 4:14.79 in the world record-breaking race at Monaco and placed seventh in the 5000 at Budapest. Hirut Meshesha rounds out the Ethiopian trio with a mile personal best of 4:20.00, established at the Oslo Diamond League meet. Australia’s Jessica Hull, seventh in the 1500 at Budapest, recorded a personal best of 4:15.34 in the mile at Monaco. Kenya’s Nelly Chepchirchir and Beatrice Chepkoech, both formidable competitors, will also add to the intensity of the competition. Chepchirchir secured fifth place in the 1500 at Budapest with a PB of 3:56.72, while Chepkoech holds the world record in the 3000 steeplechase at 8:44.32.

Women’s 5K

Weini Kelati, the fourth-place finisher in the 10,000 at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships, is a prominent figure in the U.S. lineup. Kelati’s track best and personal record for the 5000 stands at 14:53.41 for this season. She posted a time of 15:13 at the BAA 5K in April and possesses a road PB of 15:04 from the previous year. Her 21st place finish in the 10K at the World Cross Country Championships in February further highlights her prowess. Former Stanford star Fiona O’Keeffe achieved lifetime bests on the track in the 5000 and 10,000 this season, recording times of 15:01.34 indoors at Boston and 30:52.77 at the Track Fest at Mt. SAC in May. O’Keeffe crossed the finish line two places behind Kelati at the BAA 5K in 15:24 and claimed victory in the USATF 10 Mile Championship in 2022.

Caroline Nyaga of Kenya, boasting a time of 14:35, leads the entrants list and ranks second on the 2023 world list for the 5K. Nyaga set this mark with a victory in Lille, France, in March, adding to her impressive resume that includes the African 10,000 title in 2022 and a bronze medal in the 5000. She faces fierce competition from Ethiopia’s Medina Eisa, an 18-year-old sensation who recorded 14:46 to win the adizero race in Germany and later established a world U20 record on the track with a 14:16.54 at the London Diamond League meet. Eisa finished sixth at the World Championships in Budapest and secured the silver medal in the U20 race at the World Cross Country Championships.

Uganda’s Peruth Chemutai, the reigning Olympic 3000 steeplechase champion, adds to the depth of the field with a 15:05 5K road personal best, complementing her steeplechase credentials with a 9:01.45 time. Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye, the world record holder, opted to focus on the track this season, securing the bronze medal in the 10,000 at Budapest and recording season bests of 14:13.31 for the 5000 and 29:57.45 for the 10,000. Other contenders include Ethiopia’s Lemlem Hailu, a sub-30 performer in the 10,000 on the track, and Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet, the bronze medalist in the 5000 at Budapest and the World Cross Country champion. Chebet impressed with a second-place finish in the 5000 at the Diamond League Final in Eugene, clocking a sizzling 14:05.92. Japan’s Nozomi Tanaka and Kenya’s Lilian Regneruk are additional strong contenders, both boasting sub-14:30 times on the track in 2023.

Men’s 5K

American hopes are carried by Olin Hacker and Ahmed Muhumed in the men’s 5K event. Hacker, the 2022 NCAA 5000 champion on the track for Wisconsin, achieved a road personal best of 13:27 at the BAA 5K in April. He clinched bronze in the 3000 at the USATF Indoor Championships and set a PB of 13:09.94 on the track shortly after taking seventh at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. Muhumed, a former ACC 10,000 champion representing Florida State, secured eighth place in the 5000 at this year’s Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. He set a personal best of 13:16.09 at the Track Fest in May and finished sixth in the BAA 5K, also registering a PB of 13:27.

The field features three entrants with road personal bests under 13:00, including Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha and Berihu Aregawi. Kejelcha, a two-time World Indoor champion in the 3000, currently holds the fastest 5K road time in 2023 with a stellar 12:50, triumphing in Lille, France, in March. He secured fifth place in the 5000 at the World Championships in Budapest, won the Oslo Diamond League 5000 in a PB of 12:41.73, and added the Zurich Diamond League title with a time of 12:46.91. Aregawi has also showcased his prowess on the track, clocking 12:40.45 to win the Lausanne Diamond League meet and a 26:50.66 for the 10,000, claiming victory at the Ethiopian Trials. He further recorded a blistering 26:33 for 10K on the road in March and earned the silver medal in the 10K at the World Cross Country Championships.

Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir, Budapest 10,000 eighth-place finisher, is a formidable contender with a road personal best of 12:55 established last year, along with a 26:51 road 10K a year ago. He possesses a track PB of 12:46.33 and dipped under 27 in the 10,000 with a 26:58.97 three years ago. Hagos Gebrhiwet of Ethiopia, securing sixth place in the 5000 at Budapest, made headlines by setting a world U20 record for the road 5K 11 years ago with a 13:14. He improved his lifetime best to 12:42.18, clinching victory at the Monaco Diamond League meet, and set a half marathon PB of 58:55 in February.

Men’s Half Marathon

The men’s half marathon event promises an exceptional lineup, with nine entrants boasting sub-60 season bests. While the top five may be a challenging target for Team USATF, the U.S. quartet, consisting of Biya Simbassa, Jacob Thomson, Futsum Zienasellassie, and Reed Fischer, brings considerable road racing experience. Simbassa leads the U.S. roster with a personal best of 60:37, achieved in Valencia last year. He secured victory in the USATF 7 Mile Championships in Iowa in July and clinched the national title in the 10K in 2022. Simbassa finished fourth in the USATF Half Marathon Championships with a time of 62:41. Thomson, the reigning USATF half marathon champion, won gold by a mere second at Fort Worth in February, setting a personal best of 62:38. He also claimed the runner-up spot at the USATF 25K and achieved top-10 finishes at 15K and 20K in 2023.

Zienasellassie, who finished third behind Thomson in Fort Worth with a time of 62:39, previously secured the USATF runner-up position in 2022, establishing his personal best of 61:21 in 2021. He also won the USATF 10 Mile title in 2019 and recently broke the 2:10 barrier in the marathon with a 2:09:40 at Rotterdam, placing 11th. Fischer, with a season best of 61:51 from Germany, emerged victorious in the Chicago half marathon in June. He clinched fifth place at the 2022 USATF Championships and finished ninth in the Chicago Marathon in 2021. Fischer recorded a personal best of 61:37, securing 12th place at Houston in 2020, and earned the NACAC bronze medal in the 10,000 in 2018 after a fourth-place finish at the USATF Outdoor Championships.

Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer Mekonnen leads the entries with a 2023 best of 58:38, ranking second-fastest globally this year. However, the overwhelming favorite in this race is the world record holder, Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda, boasting an incredible time of 57:31. Kiplimo, a bronze medalist in the 10,000 at the Tokyo Olympics and Oregon22, possesses a 26:33.93 PB at that distance. He also secured the Commonwealth Games 5000 title last year and lowered his 5000 PB to 12:41.73 at the Oslo Diamond League meet. Kiplimo added the World Cross Country title to his accolades in February and won the world half marathon gold in 2020.

Kenya’s Benard Kibet, fifth in the 10,000 at Budapest, triumphed in the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon with a personal best of 58:45, while countryman Charles Kipkirui Langat clinched victory at the Barcelona half in a PB 58:53. Another Kenyan, Sabastian Sawe, secured seventh place in the World Cross Country Championships and won the Berlin half in 59:00. Sawe also emerged victorious in the adizero 10K in Germany with a time of 26:49. The Lisbon half marathon winner, Ethiopia’s Nibret Melak, achieved a PB of 59:06 and also dipped under 60 with a time of 59:49 in Northern Ireland last month. He represented Ethiopia at the Olympics in the 5000 in 2021.

Daniel Simiyu Ebenyo, the silver medalist for Kenya in the 10,000 at Budapest, boasts a half marathon PB of 59:04. He secured victory in the Brussels Diamond League 10,000 with a time of 26:57.80 earlier this month. France’s Jimmy Gressier is the sole non-African entrant in the race with sub-60 credentials, recording a personal best of 59:55. Gressier, the French 5000 and cross country champion, finished ninth in Budapest in the 5000 and set a national record of 12:56.09 at Monaco in July.

Women’s Half Marathon

Sarah Pagano, a two-time World Cross Country team member and the sixth-place finisher in the 10,000 at the 2019 Pan American Games, leads the U.S. trio in the women’s half marathon. Pagano holds a half marathon PB of 69:41, established in 2021, and showcased her road racing prowess with four top-10 finishes on the USATF Running Circuit in 2022. Amber Zimmerman achieved her PB of 70:58 at the Houston half marathon in January, securing an 11th-place finish. Making her international debut, Zimmerman emerged victorious in the Philadelphia Marathon last year with a PB of 2:31:35. Completing the U.S. squad, Molly Grabill finished fourth in the USATF Championships with a time of 71:17. Grabill previously represented Team USATF on the World Cross Country U20 team in 2011 and secured 10th place in the 10,000 at the Toyota USATF Outdoor Championships. Her half marathon PB stands at 70:43, achieved in a winning effort at Indianapolis in 2021.

Kenya’s Irine Kimais headlines the entry list with an impressive 2023 best of 64:37, recorded at the Barcelona half marathon in February. This performance ranks her as the eighth-fastest woman in history over the half marathon distance. Kimais also claimed victory at Prague in 66:00 and boasts an impressive five sub-67 half marathon times in her career. Her compatriot, Catherine Relin, achieved her PB of 65:39 for third place in the same Barcelona race. Margaret Kipkemboi, the bronze medalist in the 10,000 at Oregon22 and fourth in the 5000 at Budapest, possesses a half marathon PB of 65:26 and secured silver in the 5000 at the 2019 World Championships.

Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, the Olympic marathon champion, has clinched two world half marathon titles and set a then-world record of 65:06 at Ras Al Kaimah in 2017. She recorded a marathon PB of 2:17:16 at Valencia in 2020 and secured third place at the London Marathon in April with a time of 2:18:38. Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, despite a somewhat subdued 2023 season, holds a half marathon PB of 65:41 from Valencia last year. Klosterhalfen, renowned for her track speed with a 14:26.76 5000 PB, finished eighth in the Tokyo Olympics 10,000. Ethiopia’s Tsige Gebreselama, a silver medalist in the World Cross Country Championships, possesses a PB of 65:46 from 2022 and recorded a time of 66:13 for second place in Berlin in April.

The Women’s Half Marathon also features the esteemed Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, who has secured two world half marathon titles and set a then-world record of 65:06 at Ras Al Kaimah in 2017. She clocked a marathon PB of 2:17:16 at Valencia in 2020 and claimed third place at the London Marathon in April with a time of 2:18:38. Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen, despite a somewhat subdued 2023 season, holds a half marathon PB of 65:41 from Valencia last year. Klosterhalfen, renowned for her track speed with a 14:26.76 5000 PB, finished eighth in the Tokyo Olympics 10,000. Ethiopia’s Tsige Gebreselama, a silver medalist in the World Cross Country Championships, possesses a PB of 65:46 from 2022 and recorded a time of 66:13 for second place in Berlin in April.

Reference

https://www.usatf.org/news/2023/top-distance-stars-set-for-inaugural-world-athleti

https://theathletic.com/

https://trackandfieldnews.com/

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