MONACO Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei produced a brilliant display of solo running to break Kenenisa Bekele’s 16-year-old 5,000-metre world record by almost two seconds at the Monaco Diamond League meeting on Friday.
Cheptegei, 23, had predicted a world record run in the first Diamond League meeting of the season and duly delivered as he clocked 12 minutes, 35.36 seconds, destroying the 12:37.35 that Bekele set in the Netherlands in 2004.
The 2019 world champion over 10,000 metres was in hot form before lockdown, setting world records over 10,000 metres and 5,000 metres on the road – the shorter of those also coming in Monaco in February – his last race before Friday’s meet.
Cheptegei took up the running at halfway, churning out 61-second laps and delivered a 2:30 split for the final kilometre and remembering to stop his own watch as he crossed the line.
“It took a lot of mind setting to keep being motivated this year because so many people are staying at home but you have to stay motivated,” he said.
“I pushed myself, I had the right staff with me, the right coach. I’m also usually based in Europe, but being based in Uganda with my family was actually great. I will for sure celebrate the world record when I get home.”
Kenya’s Nicholas Kimeli, who was just approaching the final straight as Cheptegei crossed the line, finished a distant second in a lifetime best of 12:51.78.