World Champs Men’s 10,000 — XC Champ vs Mile Recordsetter

Joseph Cheptegei held off Yomif Kejelcha in a battle between runners who had claimed major honors before the outdoor track season began. (GLADYS CHAI/ASVOM AGENCY)

JOINING ELITE COMPANY, Joshua Cheptegei used a 55.38 last 400 to accomplish what only legendary Kenenisa Bekele had previously attained in a career: win the WC 10,000 in the same year as winning the World XC. What’s more, to win the track title the 23-year-old Ugandan had to hold off another with a big credential from earlier in the year, indoor mile WR setter Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia.

Cheptegei went to the front early, with teammate Abdallah Mande and Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto and Rodgers Chumo helping set the pace early. Meanwhile, Kejelcha was content to take a page from Mo Farah’s strategy and start from the back and work his way to the front. By the time the field crossed the halfway mark in 13:33.20 with Kipruto in the lead, the 21 who had started were whittled down to a lead group of 11, including Kejelcha, Wisconsin alum Moh Ahmed of Canada, and Ahmed’s Bowerman TC teammate Lopez Lomong, the U.S. champion.

The remaining 11 stayed relatively the same for the next 3000m, though Kenya’s Alex Korio and American Shadrack Kipchirchir struggled to hang on before ultimately being gapped and out of contention. When Lomong and Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet dropped back there were a half-dozen with a shot at three medals with 800 to go: Ahmed, Andamiak Belihu of Ethiopia, Chumo, Kipruto, Kejelcha and Cheptegei.

As they came to the bell, Cheptegei, Kejelcha, Kipruto and Chumo separated themselves from Ahmed and Belihu, with the thinking amongst many that Kejelcha’s 3:47.01 mile speed would carry the day. While they dodged lapped runners down the backstretch, Kipruto and Chumo could not keep up with the injection of pace put on by Cheptegei and Kejelcha.

The Ugandan displayed “not so fast, my friend” tactics as he kept Kejelcha on his outside for the last half-lap, running 27.83, and 14.12 for the last 100 as part of a 55.83 last 400, 1:56.63 last 800, and 4:03.66 for the last 1600 to PR with a world-leading time of 26:48.36. Kejelcha (26:49.34) also PRed, running 56.15. Kipruto rounded out the medalists, running 26:50.32, while countryman Chumo was fourth in a PR 26:55.36. Belihu (26:56.71) and Ahmed (26:59.35 Canadian Record) both ducked under 27:00, while Lomong was 7th in a PR 27:04.72 to move to No. 3 on the all-time U.S. list.

Said Cheptegei, who had won silver behind Farah last time out, “It really means a lot to me. I’ve never been a world champion on the track. It’s really a special moment. It’s a proud moment for me and my country, as I’m the first to win the 10K title for Uganda.” Kejelcha said, “I’m very happy with it”, considering that he managed a personal best. “For now, I’m very satisfied with it.”

Lomong had questioned his desire to continue in the sport after losing his father and two brothers to war in the Sudan before the ’16 Olympic Trials, as well as fighting through injury issues over the last few years. But with wife Brittany motivating him to continue his journey in the sport as long as he still loves it, Lomong said afterwards, “This year, I just did it for all the people I lost in 2016. I just wanted to dedicate that for them,” he said. “Just wanted to go back and say, ‘Hey, I’m 34 years old and I can still go back and enjoy this sport.’”


WC MEN’S 10,000 RESULTS

(October 06) (temperature 75F/24C; humidity 64%)

1. Joshua Cheptegei (Uga) 26:48.36 PR (WL) (18, x W)

(pace—2:43.98, 2:43.49 [5:27.47], 2:41.68 [8:09.15], 2:43.72 [10:52.87], 2:41.26 [13:34.13], 2:42.00 [16:16.13], 2:41.09 [18:57.22], 2:43.11 [21:40.33], 2:40.46 [24:20.79], 2:27.57) (13:34.13/13:14.23)

(finish—14.12, 27.83, 55.83, 1:56.63, 4:03.66);

2. Yomif Kejelcha (Eth) 26:49.34 PR

(13:34.76/13:13.58) (15.02, 28.86, 56.15);

3. Rhonex Kipruto (Ken) 26:50.32

(13:33.20/13:17.12) (14.59, 28.96, 57.13);

4. Rodgers Chumo (Ken) 26:55.36 PR

(13:33.43/13:21.93) (15.71, 31.46, 61.45;

5. Andamlak Belihu (Eth) 26:56.71

(13:33.92/13:22.79) (15.63, 31.50, 62.26);

6. Moh Ahmed (Can) 26:59.35 NR

(13:34.55/13:24.80) (15.46, 30.86, 62.89);

7. Lopez Lomong (US) 27:04.72 PR (AL) (3, 4 A)

(13:34.69/13:30.03) (15.75, 31.58, 63.61);

8. Yemaneberhan Crippa (Ita) 27:10.76 NR

(13:35.50/13:35.26) (13.96, 28.82, 59.46);

9. Hagos Gebrhiwet (Eth) 27:11.37

(13:34.12/13:37.25 (15.54, 32.09, 66.93);

10. Shadrack Kipchirchir (US) 27:24.74;

11. Alex Oloitiptip (Ken) 27:28.74 PR;

12. Sondre Nordstad Moen (Nor) 28:02.18;

13. Leonard Korir (US) 28:05.73;

14. Soufiane Bouchikhi (Bel) 28:15.43;

15. Aron Kifle (Eri) 28:16.74;

16. Rodrigue Kwizéra (Bur) 28:21.92 PR;

17. Abdallah Mande (Uga) 28:31.49;

18. Onesphoré Nzikwinkunda (Bur) 29:11.50;

… dnf—Hassan Chani (Bhr), Thierry Ndikumwenayo (Bur), Julien Wanders (Swi).

(Leader splits: Mande 2:43.67, 5:27.24; Kipruto 8:08.23, 10:52.38, 13:33.20; Cheptegei 16:16.13; Kipruto 18:56.85, 21:40.16; Cheptegei 24:20.79) ◻︎

Subscription Options

Monthly Subscription
(Digital Only)

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$7.95 every month (recurring)

Annual Subscription
(Digital Only)

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$79.00 every year (recurring)

Monthly Premium Archive
(Digital Only)

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$12.95 every month (recurring)

Annual Premium Archive
(Digital Only)

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach

$128.00 every year (recurring)

Annual Subscription
(Digital + Print)

  • Access to Current Articles
  • Access to Current Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach
  • 12 Monthly Print Issues

$109.00 USA every year (recurring)
$157.00 Canada every year (recurring)
$207.00 Foreign every year (recurring)

Annual Premium Archive
(Digital + Print)

  • Unlimited Articles
  • Access to Archived Issues
  • eTrack Results Newsletter
  • Unlimited Content from our Technique Journal, Track Coach
  • 12 Monthly Print Issues

$158.00 USA every year (recurring)
$206.00 Canada every year (recurring)
$256.00 Foreign every year (recurring)

Annual Subscription
(Print Only)

  • 12 Monthly Print Issues
  • Does not include online access or eTrack Results Newsletter

$79.00 USA every year (recurring)
$127.00 Canada every year (recurring)
$177.00 Foreign every year (recurring)

Track Coach
(Digital Only)

  • Track Coach Quarterly Technique Journal
  • Access to Track Coach Archived Issues

Note: Track Coach is included with all Track & Field News digital subscriptions. If you are a current T&FN subscriber, purchase of a Track Coach subscription will terminate your existing T&FN subscription and change your access level to Track Coach content only. Track & Field News print only subscribers will need to upgrade to a T&FN subscription level that includes digital access to read Track Coach issues and articles online.

$19.95 every year (recurring)