- Ngetich broke the two-year old world record
- She becomes the first woman to run the 10km under 28 minutes
- Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo won the men’s race
Agnes Ngetich is still over the moon after becoming the first ever woman to run the 10km on the road under 29 minutes, as she obliterated the world record with a brilliant 28:46 run at the 10K Valencia Ibercaja.
She lowered the previous world record by a whooping 28 seconds. The previous road mixed race world record was set by Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw in Castellon two years ago. Emmaculate Anyango also dipped under 29 minutes in Valencia, clocking 28:57 to finish runner-up to her compatriot.
Ngetich’s 10km time is also faster than the women’s world record for the distance on the track, with Letesenbet Gidey’s world 10,000m record standing at 29:01.03.
Ngetich, who won bronze at the World Cross Country Championships was elated with the performance.
“Honestly, my clear goal was to break the world record but 28:46 is beyond any expectations. When I saw 14:13 by half way I didn’t get scared; it just motivated me a lot to keep on pushing until the end. I have no words to describe what I feel now,” Agnes Ngetich said after the win.
Agnes Ngetich with brilliant start
At halfway point, after a brilliant start paced by Japheth Kipkemboi, the Kenyan was already within world record pace as she went through in 14:13. That is six seconds faster than the women’s world record achieved in a mixed race, set by Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye in Barcelona in 2021.
The trio of Ngetich, Anyango and world 5km silver medallist Lilian Kasait went through the 3km point in 8:29. That pace was maintained as Ngetich reached half way in 14:13, closely followed by Anyango (14:14) and with Kasait travelling another 11 seconds back.
Hampered by an annoying headwind, the rhythm slowed at the beginning of the second half of the race, with the leaders covering the next kilometres in the 2:54/2:56 region.
While Ngetich ran comfortably at the pacemaker’s shoulder, the 23-year-old Anyango began to lose ground as the clock read 20:30. A lonesome Ngetich passed the eighth kilometre mark in 23:10 to confirm a monster performance was on the cards.
At the tape, the Iten-based Ngetich made history and she was joined 11 seconds later by Anyango, who also dipped under the 29-minute barrier to run 17 seconds faster than the previous world record.
Ngetich had appeared to break the women-only 10km world record in Brasov last September when she clocked 29:24, but two weeks later the course was found to be short by 25 metres.
Earlier world record
Bouncing back, the world 10,000m sixth-place finisher triumphed in Lille in November when she managed a lifetime best of 29:26. From then on, the 10K Valencia Ibercaja became Ngetich’s focus and that build-up paid off with a stunning world record.
Finishing behind Ngetich in Lille was Anyango, who ran 30:01 – a mark that stood as her PB until her 28:57 performance in Valencia.
Another two contenders – Kasait and Chepngetich – managed sub-30:00 performances thanks to their respective times of 29:32 and 29:55 to complete a Kenyan sweep of the top four places. The 10th-placed finisher Sarah Chelangat of Uganda clocked 30:26.
Ngetich will now focus on the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Belgrade 24 in March and then the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, where athletics will be the No.1 sport in August.
“I’ll be doing the Kenyan trials for Belgrade, where I would like to improve on my bronze medal from last year,” she added.
Meanwhile, the men’s race was won by Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo in 26:48 while Kenya’s Peter Mwaniki also dipped under 27 minutes, timing 26:59. Dennis Kibet was fourth in 27:01 while Hillary Chepkwony was the other Kenyan in the top 10 as he placed ninth with a time of 27:34.
-Additional reporting by World Athletics