World Champs Women’s 5000 — A Successful Defense For Obiri

In a race in which nearly everybody PRed, Hellen Obiri didn’t. But she didn’t need to. (KEVIN MORRIS)

DEFENDING CHAMP Hellen Obiri moved to the front of the women’s final shortly before the end of the second lap, and there—despite every effort of her rivals—she remained as she retained her title in a meet record 14:26.72. It would be hard to imagine a more single-minded effort from any athlete, and it was a testament to the inexorable performance of this army sergeant, who won the World XC title earlier this year, that 11 of the 14 athletes strung out behind her broke their PRs. With a 1500/5000 double made impossible by the timetable, 10K winner Sifan Hassan, who would have been favored here, chose the shorter race, while Obiri, who had been 5th in the 25-lapper, chose this one.

Obiri quickly took over from the early 5000 leader, Eilish McColgan of Great Britain, and by the 3000 she was heading a group of 6 who were clearly going to contest the medals. Strong and intent, Obiri was being tracked by teammate Margaret Kipkemboi and Konstanze Klosterhalfen, with a third Kenyan, Lilian Rengeruk, with two Ethiopians—Tsehay Gemechu and Fantu Worku–completing the sextet.

At the bell it looked as if Kipkemboi was about to make a move, but before she could, Obiri had made her own break, moving into top gear, arms pumping furiously, face intent, mind on gold. As they rounded into the straight she had created a significant gap, and it was eventually her teammate who got closest to her.

“We have such great runners in Kenya,” said Obiri. “I worked hard to prove that we can win. It was not easy to run the Championship Record without pacemakers! But I felt the energy from the crowd and stayed focused. I just told my coach to let me focus on the 5000m and I will do my best. “It was a long season—the cross-country events, the Diamond Leagues, then the Championships. I think I need to take a month off and then we will see. Maybe I can try the 10,000m for the Olympics.”

Kipkemboi came through to overtake Klosterhalfen in the home straight for silver, clocking a career-best 14:27.49, with the tall, thin German taking a richly earned bronze in 14:28.43. Gemechu finished 4th (14:29.60), Rengeruk 5th (14:36.05) and Worku 6th (14:40.47)—lifetime bests all.

The top American, Karissa Schweizer, had plenty to be happy about despite finishing 9th. She notched a PR 14:45.18 to move to No. 5 on the all-time U.S. list. Just 3 days earlier she had PRed in the heats, her 14:52.41 making her the No. 7 American ever at that point. Teammate Elinor Purrier also PRed in the final, clocking a PR 14:58.17 in 11th.


WC WOMEN’S 5000 RESULTS

FINAL

(October 05) (temperature 81F/27C; humidity 71%)

1. Hellen Obiri (Ken) 14:26.72

(always the leader—2:56.90, 2:55.58 [5:52.48], 2:51.89 [8:44.37], 2:59.69 [11:45.06], 2:41.66) (finish—15.09, 29.56, 58.41, 2:06.43, 4:30.48);

2. Margaret Kipkemboi (Ken) 14:27.49 PR

(15.23, 30.07, 59.00, 2:06.98, 4:31.00);

3. Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Ger) 14:28.43

(16.35, 31.13, 60.02, 2:08.04, 4:32.08);

4. Tsehay Gemechu (Eth) 14:29.60 PR

(15.61, 31.01, 60.64, 2:08.76, 4:32.70);

5. Lilian Rengeruk (Ken) 14:36.05 PR

(21.60, 37.82, 67.58, 2:15.44, 4:39.46);

6. Taye Fantu (Eth) 14:40.47 PR

(18.02, 35.42, (1:10.02, 2:19.39, 4:43.37);

7. Laura Weightman (GB) 14:44.57 PR

(15.44, 31.48, 64.37, 2:14.61, 4:43.03);

8. Hawi Feysa (Eth) 14:44.92

(15.54, 31.69, 64.91, 2:15.05, 4:43.08);

9. Karissa Schweizer (US) 14:45.18 PR (AL) (5, 6 A)

(15.54, 31.64, 65.36, 2:15.48, 4:43.17);

10. Eilish McColgan (GB) 14:46.17 PR;

11. Elinor Purrier (US) 14:58.17 PR;

12. Camille Buscomb (NZ) 14:58.59 PR;

13. Andrea Seccafien (Can) 14:59.95 PR;

14. Nozomi Tanaka (Jpn) 15:00.01 PR;

15. Dominique Scott Efurd (SA) 15:24.47.

(best-ever mark-for-place: 10)

HEATS

(October 02)

I–1. Obiri 14:52.13;

2. Schweizer 14:52.41 PR (AL) (7, x A);

3. Feysa 14:53.85; 4. McColgan 14:55.79; 5. Buscomb 15:02.19 PR; 6. Tanaka 15:04.66 PR; 7. Seccafien 15:04.67 PR; 8. Efurd 15:05.01; 9. Purrier 15:08.82;

10. Sarah Chelangat (Uga) 15:19.90; 11. Hanna Klein (Ger) 15:28.65; 12. Florencia Borelli (Arg) 15:56.49; 13. Cavaline Nahimana (Bur) 16:25.82;… dnf—Maureen Koster (Neth);… dnf—Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal (Nor).

II–1. Gemechu 15:01.57; 2. Klosterhalfen 15:01.57; 3. Kipkemboi 15:01.58; 4. Rengeruk 15:02.03; 5. Weightman 15:02.24; 6. Fantu 15:02.74;

7. Anna Emilie Møller (Den) 15:11.76; 8. Rachel Schneider (US) 15:30.00; 9. Melissa Duncan (Aus) 15:37.37; 10. Rachel Cliff (Can) 15:41.27; 11. Jessica Judd (GB) 15:51.48; 12. Valeriya Zhandarova (Geo) 15:52.11; 13. Tomoka Kimura (Jpn) 15:53.08;… dnf—Tigist Gashaw (Bhr). ◻︎

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