Agnes Ngetich sets a women-only world record at the Trunsylvania 10km (© Brasov Running Festival)
Kenya’s Agnes Ngetich broke the women-only world 10km record* at the Trunsylvania 10km, clocking 29:24 at the World Athletics Elite Label road race held on Sunday (10) as part of the Brasov Running Festival in Romania.
In an impressive solo running display, the 22-year-old showed her intent from the start and covered the first 5km in 14:25 – four seconds faster than the women-only world record for that distance.
She had a lead of 10 seconds over her compatriot Catherine Reline at that point.
Racing on the loop course, Ngetich went on to pass 6.5km in 18:54 and 8.5km in 24:56 before crossing the finish line in 29:24 to record the fastest ever 10km in a women-only race, improving on the 30:01 set by the late Agnes Tirop in Herzogenaurach in 2021.
As well as being the fastest women-only 10km, Ngetich’s time is the third-quickest by a woman in history, behind only the 29:14 run by Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw in a mixed race in Castellon last year and the 29:19 Yehualaw clocked in Valencia earlier this year.
“The world record is a surprise to me,” said Ngetich, who started the 2022 race in Brasov as the pacemaker but went on to finish second in 30:30. “I didn’t expect to get the world record. I just wanted a PB, low 30 minutes to break the course record, but a world record is really a surprise.”
The race started at a fast pace right from the gun with Ngetich, Reline and Uganda’s Joy Cheptoyek leaving the pacemaker – who had been asked to lead the runners through 5km in 15:00 – quickly behind.
The trio sped through 1500m in 4:12 and Cheptoyek started to lose contact with the Kenyan pair a kilometre later. Ngetich and Reline went through 3km in 8:32 but it was only a few hundred metres down the road in the Coresi district on the outskirts of the Transylvanian city that the latter started to drift back. From then on, Ngetich was out on her own.
Ngetich, who claimed bronze at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships in Bathurst in February and then finished sixth in the 10,000m final at the World Athletics Championships Budapest 23 last month, set a women-only world 5km record with her split of 14:25, improving on the 14:29 achieved by Ethiopia’s Senbere Teferi in Herzogenaurach on the same day that Tirop set her 10km mark.
By 7km, Ngetich had built up an 18-second lead over Reline and the gap just kept on widening.
As Ngetich passed the 8.5km checkpoint in 24:56, Reline was second in 25:29, and the leader continued to fly over the final section of the three-lap course before gaining her second world record of the morning.
“I started the year with the World Cross, which was perfect, so I wanted to close the season with a good result,” explained Ngetich, who achieved that aim in sensational style.
Reline held on to finish second in 30:14, while Cheptoyek placed third in 30:34.
The men's race was won by Weldon Langat, who completed a Kenyan double in 27:05.
Weldon Langat wins the Trunsylvania 10km (© Brasov Running Festival)
A group of seven athletes went through 5km in 13:30, with another four just two seconds further back at the halfway point.
Surges in the sixth kilometre by Kenya’s Amos Kurgat and Dennis Kibet saw the pair pull away, with Langat being towed along comfortably in their wake.
Kibet continued to regularly push the pace over the course of the next three kilometres but with just over one kilometre to go, he started to pay for his service at the front.
As Kurgat and Langat embarked on the final kilometre, the latter used that as a signal to change gears and made a decisive move that took him to victory just over two-and-a-half minutes later.
Kurgat took second place in 27:12, while the 2018 world U20 5000m champion Edward Zakayo Pingua came through strongly over the final kilometre, firstly overtaking the tiring Kibet and then almost catching Kurgat to complete an all-Kenyan podium in third place with 27:14.
Mile wins for Van Riel and Mechaal
The Trunsylvania 10km took place on the second day of the Brasov Running Festival, with Saturday (9) offering elite mile races.
Robin van Riel of the Netherlands and Turkiye’s Emine Hatun Mechaal claimed victories in the European Road Mile, winning in national records of 4:05.5 and 4:41.7, respectively.
Mechaal was the first across the line as dusk started to fall over the Coresi district, after a well calculated run that saw the 2014 European U20 cross country champion pull away from her nearest rivals over the final 100 metres.
Romania’s Cristina Balan finished second in 4:43.0, while Greek 1500m champion Melissa Anastasakis was third in 4:44.0, both women also setting national records.
In the men’s race, runners in the leading pack were reluctant to go with pacemaker Stephen Masindet and they passed 1km in an unofficial 2:40.0, which made the anticipated sub-four-minute time and a world record highly unlikely.
In the end, Van Riel was able to outsprint his younger compatriot Stefan Nillessen in a thrilling duel as the finish line approached.
Van Riel clocked 4:05.5 to Nillessen’s 4:05.8, with Italy’s Giovanni Filippi third in 4:07.2.
Further elite mile action will be on offer in Riga next month as the World Athletics Road Running Championships hosts mile, 5km and half marathon races.
1 Agnes Ngetich (KEN) 29:24
2 Catherine Reline (KEN) 30:14
3 Joy Cheptoyek (UGA) 30:34
4 Diana Cherotich (KEN) 31:17
5 Viola Chepngeno (KEN) 31:39
1 Weldon Langat (KEN) 27:05
2 Amos Kurgat (KEN) 27:12
3 Edward Zakayo Pingua (KEN) 27:14
4 Dennis Kibet Kitiyo (KEN) 27:17
5 Shadrack Kipchirchir (KEN) 27:40
1 Emine Hatun Mechaal (TUR) 4:41.7
2 Cristina Balan (ROU) 4:43.0
3 Melissa Anastasakis (GRE) 4:44.0
4 Devora Avramova (BUL) 4:56.6
5 Tabita Teusan (ROU) 4:59.0
1 Robin van Riel (NED) 4:05.5
2 Stefan Nillessen (NED) 4:05.8
3 Giovanni Filippi (ITA) 4:07.2
4 Mohad Abdikadar Sheik Ali (ITA) 4:07.3
5 Brian Fay (IRL) 4:08.8
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure