Valencia — Letesenbet Gidey Chops Down 5000 WR

Letesenbet Gidey had only the pacer lights for company as she rolled to a 14:06.62. (DANIEL MEUMANN)

VALENCIA, SPAIN, October 07—Two races on the program, two standards targeted at the NN Valencia World Record Day meet in this Spanish city’s Turia Stadium.

Letesenbet Gidey took to the oval first and methodically cut Ethiopian compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba’s all-time best over 12½ laps down to 14:06.62, a 4.53 improvement of the WR Dibaba had claimed with a momentous 5.48 reduction of her own in Oslo back in ’08 (see sidebar for WR progression).

With no pretense that the 24-year-old Gidey might have company in the closing laps the World Champs 10,000 silver medalist set off shod with Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes—“super shoes,” many believe though they meet WA’s recently redefined requirements—two rabbits and a Wavelight system of pacing lights virtually paving her way.

Gidey needed better than 68.09 laps over the distance and announced beforehand she wished to accelerate toward that average after four marginally easier go-rounds at the outset. Her race plan worked to a T. With Gidey tucked close behind in 3rd , first hare Esther Guerrero covered the opening half lap in 33.93 and followed with circuits of 68.84 and 68.33 to reach the kilometer in 2:51.10—about 2.8 behind Dibaba’s split.

When Guerrero let the pace slide to 69.30 for the lap to 1400 a rabbit of regal pedigree, Beatrice Chepkoech, stepped up to take the lead. With Gidey gliding forward in her wake, the steeplechase WR holder led a 67.87 circuit to 1800 and through 2K in 5:42.7. Here the duo was 1.1 ahead of Dibaba’s schedule and Gidey exuded relaxed concentration.

After forging the lap to 3000 in 67.05, Chepkoech slid out to lane 2 and Gidey—now some 7 seconds ahead of Dibaba’s program at 8:31.05—lit into a 5-circuit push to the finish with a 66.51 lap that would be her quickest of the night.

Settling into 67-low territory and appearing to eye the pace lights as a guide, Gidey drove smoothly with erect carriage through her last 1600 in 4:28.26. She passed 4K in 11:19.17, 9.27 faster than Dibaba’s split, and essayed identical 67.01 splits for her last two laps—a marked contrast to blitz-finisher Dibaba’s rush with 65-range laps over the final K in 2:42.71.

Gidey split 2:47.45 but had banked more than enough to decisively claim the WR. “I dreamed for this record for 6 years,” she said. “I want to thank Valencia for giving me this chance.”


5000: 1. Letesenbet Gidey (Eth) 14:06.62 WR (old WR 14:11.15 Tirunesh Dibaba {Eth] ’08);

2. Winnie Nanyondo (Uga) 15:57.16 PR;… rabbits—Esther Guerrero (Spa), Beatrice Chepkoech (Ken).

(Leader laps: Guerrero 33.93, 68.84 [1:42.77], 68.33 [2:51.10]; Chepkoech 69.30 [4:00.40], 67.87 [5:08.27], 68.52 [6:16.79], 68.01 [7:24.80], 67.05 [8:31.85]; Gidey 66.51 [9:38.36], 67.18 [10:45.54], 67.06 [11:52.60], 67.01 [12:59.61], 67.01) (67.01, 2:14.02, 3:21.08, 4:28.26, 5:34.77)

(Leader kilos: 2:51.10, 2:51.63 [5:42.73], 2:49.02 [8:31.85], 2:47.32 [11:19.17], 2:47.45)