Report27 Apr 2024

Wanyonyi runs world road mile record in Herzogenaurach


Emmanuel Wanyonyi breaks the world road mile record in Herzogenaurach (© Organisers)

World 800m silver medallist Emmanuel Wanyonyi stepped up to the mile in style, breaking the world road mile record with 3:54.56* at the adizero Road to Records event in Herzogenaurach, Germany, on Saturday (27).

Deciding to make his mile debut rather than race his specialist distance, the Kenyan 19-year-old improved the previous world record of 3:56.13 set by USA’s Hobbs Kessler at the World Athletics Road Running Championships Riga 23 in October, despite celebrating on his way to the tape.

Kessler was second on this occasion, chasing Wanyonyi over the finish line in 3:56.18, while South Africa’s Ryan Mphahlele was third in 3:56.45.

The pacemaker went off fast and Wanyonyi was at the front of a group that caught and then passed him, with 90 seconds on the clock. Kessler moved through the field and drew level with Wanyonyi through 1200m, but Wanyonyi responded to the challenge and when Kessler tried to pass him again, he glanced at his rival and kicked. 

Surging away, Wanyonyi started his celebrations early and pointed at the finish line, before crossing it in world record time.

“I feel so happy for today. It’s not easy, but I tried to push myself,” said Wanyonyi, the 2021 world U20 800m champion who claimed the Diamond League title last year and received the men’s World Athletics Rising Star award for 2023. “My coach told me it was possible to break the world record.”

On a busy day of racing in Herzogenaurach, the men’s mile followed a rare road 800m which was won in 1:44:30 by Canada’s Marco Arop, who beat Wanyonyi to the world title in Budapest last year. Kenya’s Nelly Chepchirchir topped the women’s mile in 4:30.93. 

Kenya's Agnes Ngetich almost added the women-only world record to the world 10km record of 28:46 she set in a mixed race in Valencia in January. This time the 23-year-old clocked 30:03 for a performance just two seconds off the women-only world record set by the late Agnes Tirop at this event in 2021. On Saturday, athletes wore limited-edition kit in honour of Tirop. 

In a Kenyan top three, Margaret Chelimo was second in 30:39 and Jesca Chelangat was third in 30:46.

In the women’s 5km, Ethiopia’s world U20 5000m champion Medina Eisa clocked a winning 14:38 – the fastest ever women’s road 5km by an U20 athlete. She was followed by her fellow 19-year-old compatriot Melknat Wudu, who finished just two seconds back. Fotyen Tesfay completed the Ethiopian top three in 14:41.

Also racing on the 1.3km loop course on Saturday were Ethiopia’s two-time world indoor 3000m champion Yomif Kejelcha and Kenya’s world 5km bronze medallist Nicholas Kipkorir.

Kejelcha won the men’s 5km in 13:00, five seconds ahead of his compatriot Addisu Yihune, while Kipkorir took the 10km title in 27:05, pipping world half marathon champion Sabastian Sawe by a second.


*Subject to the usual ratification procedure