Monaco, Principality of Monaco | THE INDEPENDENT & AFP | With an opening kilometer timed at 2:31, Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei on Sunday set the blistering pace that he needed to shatter the 5km world record in Monaco.
The 23-year-old Ugandan followed it up with times of 2:35, 2:36, and 2:35—for the next three kilometers, before finishing with a final split of 2:32.
When it was all done, he had shaved 27 seconds off the previous best set by Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto —13min 18sec last month in Valencia. The Uganda lowered the 5km world record with a time of 12 minutes 51 seconds and revealed he had set out to “really go for” breaking the sub 13 minutes barrier.
“Wow, this is really great,” Chepetegei told World Athletics. “I had sub-13 minutes on my mind today, so when my legs felt good during the race I decided to really go for it.”
“To take this many seconds off the record makes me very happy and is a great first test for me in an important season,” he said with the Tokyo Olympics coming up in July.
The 23-year-old last year also broke the 15km road record and now becomes the first Ugandan to hold three world records, moving a step ahead of the legend John Akii Bua, world record holder in the 400m Hurdles in 1972.
Cheptegei’s 12:51 is the fastest over the distance on the roads and the track in the last year. Last year, the top mark in the 5,000 meters was 12:52.98 by Telahun Haile Bekele at the Rome Diamond League meeting.
The 5K did not become an official world record event until November 2017 and with his performance, Cheptegei also surpassed the fastest time ever recorded on the roads, which was Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 set in 2000 at the Carlsbad 5000.
Jimmy Gressier of France finished second to Cheptegei in 13:18, which broke the European record.