- Kenya won both the men and women’s half marathon
- Beatrice Chebet won the women’s 5km
- Faith Kipyegon was beaten for the first time this season
Kenya shone and topped the medal standings at the World Road Running Championships, clinching three of the six individual gold medals available in Riga, Latvia.
Sbastian Sawe and defending champion Peres Jepchirchir clinched the half marathon titles while Beatrice Chebet won the women’s 5km race.
Meanwhile, double world champion and world record holder Faith Kipyegon was beaten for the first time this season as she finished third in the women’s mile.
In the half marathon, holder Peres led a Kenyan podium sweep with Margaret Chelimo finishing second and Catherine Relin finishing in second and third place.
The defending champion completely dominated the race, holding on from the lead from start to finish, and was rewarded with a well worked result. She clocked 1:07:25 in winning, a new Championship record.
Chelimo clinched silver in 1:07:26 while Reline took bronze in 1:07:34.
Men also swept the podium
At the same time, the men also swept the podium. Sawe led them home, the 28-year-old utilising a powerful kick down the home straight to take gold in 59:10 ahead of compatriots Daniel Simiu Ebenyo (59:14) and Samwel Nyamai Mailu (59:19).
Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer Mekonnen was edged off the podium into fourth (59:22), having made a bold bid to win gold, with France’s Jimmy Gressier fifth in 59:46.
It was just the second time in 25 editions that a nation swept the men’s world half marathon podium, the last one occurring in 1997 when Kenya’s Moses Tanui, Paul Yego and Charles Tangus went 1-2-3.
It meant Kenya claimed the team title for the 17th time, with a cumulative time for their top three of 2:57:43, well clear of Ethiopia (2:59:54). South Africa, led by Thabang Mosiako in sixth, took bronze in 3:01:17.
Meanwhile, Chebet clinched the women’s 5km title in 14:35. Chebet clinched her second global title of the season, having won the World Cross Country title earlier on in February, and she closes down her season with gold after winning bronze at the World Championships in Budapest.
Chebet was patient in her attack against Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye, blazing down the final 200m down the road to clinch the title.
Lilian Kasait put in a brilliant battle to come from third and drop off Taye in the final 50m to clinch silver in 14:39, while the Ethiopian was third for bronze in 14:40.
Kimeli clinch bronze in the men’s race
In the men’s race, Nicholas Kimeli clinched bronze as he finished third behind the Ethiopian duo of winner Hagos Gebrhiwet and Yomif Kejelcha.
Kimeli wiped off the disappointment of missing a medal at the World Championships as he clocked 13:16 to finish third behind winner Gebrhiwet who clocked 12:59 as he beat compatriot Kejelcha, who came home second in 13:02.
Faith Kipyegon closed down the medal haul for Kenya in Riga, as she clinched bronze in the women’s mile. This was the first time this season that she suffered defeat, but it was hugely understandable after a tough season that had seen her break three world records and win two titles at the World Championships.
Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji won the race in a new world record time of 4:23.06.
Welteji led an Ethiopian 1-2 finish, with Freweyni Hailu passing down Kipyegon close to the line for second. Kipyegon clocked 4:24.13, with Hailu coming second for silver in 4:24.13.