Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei smashed the men’s 10,000 metres world record on Wednesday at the Valencia World Record Day, crossing the line in a stunning 26 minutes 11.02 seconds to take six seconds off a 15-year-old record.
Cheptegei, 24, broke the previous mark of 26:17:53, set by Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele in 2005, at a special event in a near-empty Turia stadium in Valencia as only 400 people including sponsors, journalists and staff were allowed in.
The achievement capped an outstanding 12 months for Cheptegei, who won the gold medal in the 10,000 at last year’s World Championships in Doha, and in August took Bekele’s 5,000m record at the Diamond League meeting in Monaco.
Last December, also in Valencia, Cheptegei smashed a decade-long record in 10km road racing by six seconds.
Cheptegei’s outstanding display finished off a perfect event after Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey broke the women’s 5,000 metres world record by more than four seconds, crossing the line in 14 minutes 6.62 seconds.
Gidey, 22, easily beat the previous record of 14:11.15 set by her compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba in Oslo in 2008.
The event was organised by Cheptegei’s NN Running Team of the Netherlands and he and Gidey were helped to the finish line by pacers as well as Wavelight technology, which flashes lights on the inside of the track to indicate a specific pace.
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