BUDAPEST (26-Aug) -- They knew it was coming, but they just couldn't stop it.
PHOTO: Faith Kipyegon winning the 5000m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
In the women's 5000m final here tonight at the National Athletics Center, every woman in the field knew that Kenya's Faith Kipyegon would set the race up for a last-lap sprint. At the 3000m mark, hit in a sluggish 9:16.55, it became obvious that Kipyegon would be in prime position to use her other-worldly closing speed to put the race away in the final two laps.
"I felt really good until the last 300," said American Elise Cranny, who finished ninth in 14:59.22. "And then they just had a whole 'nother gear."
Indeed, at the bell Kipyegon, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan (running her third and final event at these championships), Ethiopian Gudaf Tsegay, and Kenyan Beatrice Chebet all hit the gas. Kipyegon pulled all of them down the backstretch, and with 200 meters to go Tsegay could not keep up (she would fade to 13th place at the finish). Hassan and Chebet were sprinting full out, but Kipyegon was still pulling away. She completed her final circuit in 56.6 seconds and got the win in 14:53.88. Hassan got silver in 14:54.11, and Chebet the bronze in 14:54.33.
"Things have been incredible here," said Kipyegon, who won the 1500m gold medal four days ago. She continued: "This (medal) I dedicate to my husband. He has been supportive for my success. He's the most amazing husband I (could) ever have."
Kipyegon, who said that she would contest the Wanda Diamond League final in Eugene in mid-September, is now the only woman to win both the 1500m and 5000m at a World Athletics Championships (the 5000m was first run for women in 1995; prior to that women ran the 3000m). Mary Decker (USA) won the 1500m and 3000m in 1983, and Tetyana Samolenko of the Soviet Union did the same double in 1987, but those distances are much closer.
Earlier this year, Kipyegon set world records for 1500m (3:49.11), one mile (4:07.64), and 5000m (14:05.20). She is immensely popular in Kenya, including with president William Ruto, but she said she is fundamentally unchanged.
"It's an amazing thing for people to know me, to cheer me," Kipyegon said. "It's been an incredible season." She added: "I'm still the same Faith. I try to be myself and try to be humble, and be friends to everybody. I'm still the same."
Smooth-Running Arop Takes Men's 800M Title
PHOTO: Marco Arop of Canada winning the 800m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
With a fluid running style reminiscent of double Olympic gold medalist David Rudisha, Canada's Marco Arop won his country's first-ever world 800m title tonight, going away. The former Mississippi State star in the NCAA system ran a beautifully executed race, moving from last at the bell to first at 600 meters by passing the field on the outside down the backstretch, then rolling to victory in 1:44.24, well clear of second place Emmanuel Wanyonyi of Kenya (1:44.53). He became only the second Canadian man to win an 800m medal at a world championships; Gary Reed was a silver medalist in Osaka in 2007.
"I had to be ready for any scenario tonight," Arop told a small group of reporters. He continued: "As soon as the gun went off it was playing out right in front of me. Being patient early on was the key, and when I made that move I just wanted to keep it going and finish strong. I came in with confidence, and that was a huge thing."
Wanyonyi had full control of second place in the final meters, but behind him Great Britain's Ben Pattison was battling to hold off Adrian Ben of Spain and Djamel Sedjati and Slimane Moula of Algeria. Pattison, who is only 21 and competing in his first global championships, gritted his teeth and held on for third in 1:44.83. Pattison said that the encouragement he received from friends, family, coaches and other athletes on the British team helped instill in him a belief that he could get on the podium.
"The last person I saw when I left the hotel today was Josh Kerr," Pattison told reporters. "Before I even had a chance to say 'well done' to him, he was saying 'well done' to me and saying 'good luck.' That was the 1500m world champion. It blows my mind that I'm surrounded by these people."
American Bryce Hoppel was the eighth and last athlete to cross the finish line, but was given seventh place when Sedjati was later disqualified. Hoppel, the reigning USA champion who finished fourth at the World Athletics Championships in 2019, did not speak with the media.
PHOTO: Marco Arop of Canada celebrates after winning the 800m at the 2023 World Athletics Championships in Budapest (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)
Men's Marathon Is Tomorrow
On Sunday at 7:00 a.m. the men's marathon will step off from Heroes' Square in the city center. Eighty-five athletes from 42 countries are on the official start list, 37% more than the 62 who started in Eugene a year ago.
Most of the race will be held on one roadway, Andrássy Avenue, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a wide boulevard which is usually teeming with traffic. Athletes will do five out-and-back circuits. The first is 2.2 kilometers, and the next four are 10 kilometers. The runners will pass landmarks like the House of Terror Museum, Opera House, and Hungarian Academy of Sciences before crossing the iconic Széchenyi Chain Bridge on the side of the Danube River. The competitors will loop around Buda Castle, go back over the bridge, then head back to Heroes' Square for the next circuit and eventually the finish.
Only one of the three medalists from Eugene are on the start list. Ethiopia's Tamirat Tola hopes to repeat as world champion again. Because Tola got a "bye" to enter here as defending champion, Ethiopia has another three men on their squad: Leul Gebresilase (2:04:02 PB), Tsegaye Getachew (2:04:49) and Milkesa Mengesha (2:05:29). Tola is ranked #3 in the world under the World Athletics points system.
Other medal contenders include Kenya's Timothy Kiplagat (2:03:50 PB), the Netherlands' Abdi Nageeye (2:04:56 PB), Japan's Ichitaka Yamashita (2:05:51), and Uganda's Stephen Kissa (2:04:48). The USA team is Elkanah Kibet (2:10:43 PB), Nico Montanez (2:09:55) and Zach Panning (2:09:28). Kibet ran the World Championships in Eugene and finished 24th in 2:11:20. Both Montanez and Panning are making their national team debuts.
Like for the women's race today, conditions are expected to be hot and sunny. Start-time temperatures are forecast at 71F/22C with 79% humidity by weather.com under sunny skies. For the finish, temperatures are expected to reach 80F/27C with 66% humidity. That's nearly a carbon copy of Saturday's weather.
Only one American man, Mark Plaatjes in Stuttgart in 1993, has ever won a world marathon title. He was also the most recent American medalist. The only other USA man to medal was Steve Spence who won the bronze in Tokyo in 1991.