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Can Faith Kipyegon end her 2023 season in style?

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Faith Kipyegon celebrates with her second world title from Budapest.
Faith Kipyegon celebrates with her second world title from Budapest.
  • Kipyegon will compete in the mile race at the World Road Running Championships
  • She has set three world records and won two world champs medals
  • The men’s charge will be led by youngster Reynold Cheruiyot

Faith Kipyegon will have the opportunity to end her season in style, when she competes in the women’s mile at the season capping World Road Running championships in Riga, Latvia on Sunday.

Kipyegon has had a splendid season, setting three world records on the track and winning two world championship medals. She set the records in her favourite 1500m, 500m (which was recently broken) and the mile on track.

She also won both the 1500m and 5,000m world championship medals. She will make her debut on the road, where she will look to clinch yet another world title.

Her track mile world record of 4:07.64, set earlier this year in Monaco, is seven seconds faster than the PB of the next-fastest entrant. It’s also 20 seconds faster than the newly ratified official road mile world record (4:27.97), which belongs to USA’s Nikki Hiltz.

“I have had a very good season and I can say I am really satisfied. Three world records and two world titles is a really huge achievment for me and now, I want to try and finish the season in style in Riga,” Kipyegon told Sportsleo before she departed for Riga.

She adds; “This is a new challenge as it is my first ever road race, and I am excited for it.”

Confidence in the race 

Being an athlete who constantly trains with marathoners, including world record holders Eliud Kipchoge, Kipyegon will be up in confidence in the race.

Nelly Chepchirchir, who was a world championshiop finalist in the women’s 1500m will be the other Kenyan in the race, and she hopes to tap into Kipyegon’s confidence for a good performance. Steeplechase world record holder Beatrice Chepkoech had also been entered but pulled out last minute.

It will be a competitive race though, with a host of Ethiopian athletes lining up to challenge.

Diribe Welteji was Kipyegon’s closest challenger at the World Championships in Budapest, finishing within one second of the Kenyan to take silver in 3:55.69. She went on to set a PB of 3:53.93 at the Wanda Diamond League Final in Eugene, once again finishing second to Kipyegon.

World indoor bronze medallist Hirut Meshesha as well as Freweyni Hailu who was seventh in Budapest will be the other Ethiopians in the mix.

Cheruiyot leads men’s charge 

Meanwhile, Kenya’s charge in the men’s race will be led by youngster Reynold Cheruiyot and Kyumbe Munguti.

Cheruiyot, 19, won the world U20 1500m title last year, which he followed with silver in the U20 race at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst back in February. He won the African U20 1500m title two months later, but has focused on senior competition since then.

He clocked a 1500m PB of 3:30.30, putting him fifth on the world U20 all-time list, and came close to matching that time when placing eighth in the World Championships final in 3:30.78.

After the World Championships, he went on to set a world U20 best for 2000m (4:48.14) and a world U20 record for the mile (3:48.06). Not only does he have the fastest 1500m season’s best of all the Riga entrants, he also has the fastest track mile PB.

Ethiopian duo Teddese Lemi and Melkeneh Azize are among the quicker entrants, based on 1500m form.

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