Hobbs Kessler wins the mile in Riga (© Adam Nurkiewicz)
At the first ever World Road Running Championships in Riga on October 1 we witnessed two world records in the road mile. The Ethiopian Diribe Welteji ran the women's world record while the American runner Hobbs Kessler won the title and set a new men's world record in a fierce competition. Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir and her compatriot Sebastian Sawe were crowned half marathon champions, while Beatrice Chebet from Kenya and Hagos Gebrhiwet from Ethiopia remained unbeaten in the 5km distance.
"When, in the summer of 2021, Riga and Rimi Riga Marathon team won the right to host the first World Athletics Road Running Championships in fierce competition with the world's big cities, our goal was to strengthen Riga's place on the world running map. At the end of the championships, we can proudly admit that, hosting the first World Road Running Championships, Riga, in the words of Sebastian Coe (President of World Athletics), wrote the history of road running. Two world records and the headlines of world news agencies, the world-wide live broadcast, an endless slate of Olympic and world record holders, as well as the widest geographical representation with participants from more than 100 countries, are proof that the first World Road Running Championships in Riga, the road running capital of the world 2023, succeeded at the highest level. We are grateful to all private sector partners – Rimi, Wess and Toyota, Signet Bank and Mēness Aptieka, the Rimi Riga Marathon team, the participating organizations and services, the Riga City Council, the Ministry of Education and Science, Mission Latvia and the Council of Latvian Sports Federations for their selfless involvement in providing a unique running festival", comments Aigars Nords, head of the World Road Running Championships organizing team.