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Previews13 Aug 2023

WCH Budapest 23 preview: 10,000m


Sifan Hassan and Joshua Cheptegei in 10,000m action (© Getty Images / AFP)

Women's 10,000m

Timetable | world rankings | 2023 world list | world all-time list | how it works

As she was at the Olympic Games in Tokyo, versatile Dutch star Sifan Hassan is entered for the 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23. The 30-year-old left Japan with two gold medals – in the 5000m and 10,000m – as well as 1500m bronze and since then she has become a major marathon winner, claiming the London Marathon crown in a 2:18:33 national record on her debut at the distance in April, despite stopping mid race.

Her return to the track resulted in a 29:37.80 10,000m win in Hengelo in June – the third-fastest performance of her career and the eighth quickest of all time ­– but even that is not enough to lead this season’s top list, during a year in which a record six women have dipped under 30:00. That top spot is filled by Ethiopia’s world 5000m champion Gudaf Tsegay, who ran a 29:29.73 PB at Ethiopia’s World Championships Trials in Nerja a few weeks after Hassan’s Hengelo run.

In just her second ever race at the distance, Tsegay became the fourth-fastest women’s 10,000m runner in history. Like Hassan, Tsegay has impressive range – the 26-year-old claimed world 1500m silver last year and holds the world indoor record for the distance – and now she makes her major championship debut over 25 laps of the track. Also like Hassan, Tsegay is entered for the 5000m in Budapest, too, but this time the Ethiopian is giving the 1500m a miss.

Whether Hassan – who won world titles in the 1500m and 10,000m in Doha four years ago – contests all three distances remains to be seen. The women’s 10,000m is the first track final of the championships, held on the evening of day one around eight hours after the 1500m heats, and Hassan’s medal chances are stronger in the longer events.

So that’s two of the four fastest 10,000m runners of all time and the field also features the fastest. Tsegay’s teammate Letesenbet Gidey – the world record-holder with her tremendous 29:01.03 set in 2021 – has raced sparingly this year but is entered for the 10,000m and 5000m in Budapest.

Letesenbet Gidey at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22

Letesenbet Gidey at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (© Getty Images)

The defending 10,000m champion struggled while leading in the closing stages of the World Cross Country Championships in February, eventually missing the medals and then being disqualified, but she returned to race over 5000m at the Diamond League in Paris and was only beaten by a world record performance from Faith Kipyegon. Gidey’s 14:07.94 there is the third-fastest 5000m of all time, behind only her own former world record of 14:06.62 from 2020 and Kipyegon’s winning 14:05.20, so the Ethiopian is clearly in form. Now she has the chance to test herself over 10,000m again, against some superb competition.

The Ethiopian team also features further talent in the form of Ejgayehu Taye and Lemlem Hailu, who respectively finished second and third behind Tsegay in their World Championships trials race.

Kenya’s Grace Loibach Nawowuna ran 29:47.42 on her 10,000m debut to finish second behind Hassan in Hengelo and the 19-year-old – who finished fourth at the World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst – now makes her major championships track debut. Third on this season’s top list, Nawowuna is the eighth-fastest 10,000m runner of all time.

Eilish McColgan has also had a 10,000m breakthrough in 2023 and she ran a British record of 30:00.86 in California in March, but she has withdrawn from the event. USA’s Alicia Monson was second in that race in an area record of 30:03.82 and she returns to World Championships action along with US champion Elise Cranny.


Men's 10,000m

Timetable | world rankings | 2023 world list | world all-time list | how it works

The defending champion also returns in the men’s event, with Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei on the hunt for his third consecutive world 10,000m title. The world 5000m and 10,000m record-holder has had to overcome injury since last year’s World Championships in Oregon but he returned to medal-winning form at the World Cross Country Championships in February, claiming bronze in Bathurst behind his teammate Jacob Kiplimo and Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi.

Cheptegei made his track comeback at the Diamond League meeting in Florence, finishing fourth in the 5000m, and he raced that distance again in Lausanne, finishing second behind Aregawi after a thrilling clash that produced the sixth- and seventh-fastest 5000m performances of all time.

The 10,000m in Budapest could offer more of the same. While Cheptegei hasn’t contested the 25-lap event yet this season, Aregawi is the world leader thanks to the 26:50.66 he ran to win at Ethiopia’s World Championships Trials in Nerja. Aregawi, the world 5km record-holder who finished seventh in the world 10,000m final last year, beat Olympic champion Selemon Barega by one second in Nerja and the top two this season will clash again in Budapest.

Aregawi, who ran 26:33 in Laredo in March for the second-fastest 10km performance in history, has also improved his 5000m PB this year, running 12:40.45 – a mark that puts him fifth on the world all-time list – to win in Lausanne.

As well as his Olympic win in Tokyo, Barega is the 5000m silver medallist from the 2019 World Championships in Doha and he won the world indoor 3000m title in Belgrade last year. The 23-year-old, who started his year with a cross country win in Elgoibar and was 12th at the World Cross Country Championships, has raced three times on the Diamond League circuit this season. After a runner-up finish in the 3000m in Doha in a PB of 7:27.16 he was ninth and then fifth in the 5000m in Florence and Lausanne, respectively. When it comes to head-to-head 10,000m clashes against his compatriot Aregawi, Barega leads 4-1.

Selemon Barega wins the 10,000m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo

Selemon Barega wins the 10,000m at the Olympic Games in Tokyo (© Christel Saneh)

They are joined on the Ethiopian team by Yismaw Dilu, the 17-year-old who claimed third place in the national trial race in 27:08.85, the second-fastest time ever by an U18 athlete.

World half marathon record-holder Kiplimo would also have been a contender, but the 22-year-old – who succeeded his teammate Cheptegei as world cross country champion in February – has withdrawn from the championships due to a hamstring injury sustained in training at the start of August.

US champion Woody Kincaid sits third on this season’s top list thanks to the PB of 27:06.37 he ran to win in California in March, while Canada’s Olympic 5000m silver medallist Mohammed Ahmed, who has claimed top eight spots in the past three world 5000m and 10,000m finals, will also be looking to make an impact.

The Kenyan team features national trials winner Nicholas Kipkorir, who ran his PB of 26:58.97 in 2020. Italy's European champion Yemaneberhan Crippa returns to the World Championships stage following his eighth-place finish in Doha in 2019.

Jess Whittington for World Athletics