Report25 May 2024

Chebet breaks world 10,000m record, Kerr pips Ingebrigtsen in mile in Eugene


Beatrice Chebet sets a world 10,000m record in Eugene (© Getty Images)

In a race that was set up as a 10,000m world record attempt, the competitor who initially had no intention of challenging the record became the one ultimately to smash it. 

The record now belongs to Beatrice Chebet of Kenya, who ran 28:54.14* to become the first woman under 29 minutes on the track. That performance, achieved on Saturday (25) at the Prefontaine Classic, is seven seconds faster than the previous world record of 29:01.03 that Letesenbet Gidey established in 2021. The race opened the Wanda Diamond League meeting with an immediate roar from the Hayward Field crowd.

Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay became the third-fastest all-time performer with her runner-up finish of 29:05.92, as four women ran faster than 30 minutes. The race also doubled as the selection race for Athletics Kenya’s Paris Olympic team, and Chebet and Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (29:26.89) qualified.

In a race that took place before the Diamond League programme, Tsegay and Chebet stayed within a stride of the lights marking world record pace as they passed halfway in 14:31, until Chebet sped ahead with three laps remaining, the lead all her own, and with it the weight of a world record attempt. 

Her move was motivated by seeing world 5000m record-holder Tsegay – who had initially requested a world record pace, only to decide against it because of discomfort in a foot, and change her mind again in recent days after feeling better – begin to fall behind the pace lights. Chebet said she entered the meeting to qualify for Paris, where she plans to contest both the 5000m and 10,000m, but her intent was not the record.

“When Gudaf asked for a world record, I decided to say: ‘Let me try to go for that to see how the body is.’ Because my body was not bad,” said Chebet, the two-time world cross country champion who also claimed world 5km gold last year. “I was comfortable to run a world record so when I saw Gudaf drop a bit, I said: ‘Let me try to push it to see how it can go.’ When I got to the last two laps, I just got motivated and said, I’m on a world record pace, so let me push the last 400m.”

With 800m to go, Chebet pulled ahead of the pace lights by two whole strides as fans inside Hayward Field began standing in their seats.

After the finish, Chebet fell to the track, splayed out in exhaustion, as Tsegay finished and joined her on the track. When the women stood, they hugged as the new world record flashed on the scoreboard behind them. Chebet later returned to the track wearing a ‘Stop Pre’ T-shirt, the same design that Steve Prefontaine wore at Hayward Field more than 50 years earlier.

After only her second ever 10,000m race, Chebet adds this world record to the world 5km record of 14:13 she set in Barcelona in December.

“I knew a woman could run under 29, I’ve known for a long time,” said Sifan Hassan, who entered the meeting as No.2 all-time, and now ranks fourth. Hassan believes women “can run 28:45” in the future.

Four men sprinted within a step of one another toward the finish of Athletics Kenya’s men’s 10,000m trials, with Daniel Mateiko winning in 26:50.81 after a 56-second final lap to edge Nicholas Kipkorir, who ran a personal best of 26:50.94. 

Kerr claims mile crown

In perhaps the most anticipated race, world 1500m champion Josh Kerr outduelled Olympic champion Jakob Ingebrigtsen to win the Bowerman Mile in a British record of 3:45.34, breaking Steve Cram’s 1985 record. 

Josh Kerr pips Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the mile in Eugene

Josh Kerr pips Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the mile in Eugene (© Matthew Quine / Diamond League AG)

After the pacer came through halfway in 1:53, Kerr moved up to the front with 600m remaining and the favourites aligned at the front, with Ingebrigtsen and Yared Nuguse behind, and 2022 world champion Jake Wightman tracking Nuguse closely in fourth. That order was unchanged with half a lap remaining and no one could make up ground on Kerr, who ripped his sunglasses off after finishing before collecting himself and shaking the hand of Ingebrigtsen. The two had bantered through the press for months about their standing atop the 1500m. 

“I felt very strong through the first (kilometre) and I was like, you know what, it’s time to press and push and see what these guys have got,” Kerr said. 

Ingebrigtsen was coming off an achilles tendon injury during the winter and opened his season in 3:45.60, with the US record-holder Nuguse third in 3:46.22. Ingebrigtsen said that although he was coming off missing time due to injury, he considered the race an improvement on last year at this time.

“I tried to fight him,” Ingebrigtsen said of Kerr, “but today for me was more of a time trial. Of course, we’re racing, but it’s definitely some differences in terms of approach into this race because this, for some people, this is their final test, even before the Olympics in Paris. But this is not my final test. I think if anything, this is going to be an exciting summer. For myself, I think it’s very good.”

Even with Olympic and world champion Ryan Crouser a late withdrawal, the men’s shot put was won by one of history's farthest marks. Joe Kovacs threw 23.13m, which stands as the seventh best winning mark of all time and as the second best throw of Kovacs’ career. In recent weeks while training at the sector Kovacs is building at his home, he has thrown well beyond Saturday’s mark, so far that it “hits the mulch” in his backyard, he said. On Saturday, his winning throw pushed the limits of the stadium sector.

“If I did a mulch throw here, I think I would be doing some landscaping at Hayward,” Kovacs added. 

Kovacs said he would have preferred to compete against Crouser to measure up to the world record-holder, and Leonardo Fabbri, the year’s previous world leader, but said he understood that national trials were only three weeks away. It wasn’t the only big throw, with Canada’s Camryn Rogers breaking the meeting record while winning the hammer with 77.23m on her fifth attempt. DeAnna Price was second with 76.74m. 

Joe Kovacs celebrates his win at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene

Joe Kovacs celebrates his win at the Diamond League meeting in Eugene (© Logan Hannigan-Downs / Diamond League AG)

Hodgkinson takes top spot

In an 800m field that could be a Paris preview, Keely Hodgkinson made her move to the front with 150m remaining, passed world champion Mary Moraa and gained a step by the top of the final backstretch. That gap widened from there, with Hodgkinson winning in 1:55.78, breaking the tape with a slash of her hand. Moraa was second in 1:56.71, and Jemma Reekie and Nia Akins close behind.

Afterward, Hodgkinson revealed that during November training she had injured a ligament, tendon and hamstring at the back of her knee in what she called a “freak accident” while spraining her ankle. The injury sidelined her for the indoor season.

Tsigie Gebreselama took eight seconds off of Tsegay’s previous world leading time to win the 5000m in 14:18.76, a personal best. Ethiopian women finished in the top six places, with Ejgayehu Taye second in 14:18.92 after a fierce fight for the line.

Hassan was seventh, in 14:34.38. There were no lingering effects from running the Tokyo Marathon, Hassan said. Instead, she said she was coming off of several hard weeks of training in the US at altitude. Now that her range has extended to the marathon, Hassan – who has earned gold at global championships from the 1500m to the 10,000m – said she would likely decide what event, or events, to focus on in Paris in July.

Another world lead was set in the 3000m steeplechase after Peruth Chemutai broke the Ugandan record in 8:55.09, which took three tenths of a second off of the previous world lead held by Beatrice Chepkoech, Saturday’s runner-up in 8:56.51. They were the only women under nine minutes.

Sprint showdowns

Sha’Carri Richardson and Elaine Thompson-Herah lined up next to one another at the start of the 100m, but Richardson quickly made their showdown moot. Only Julien Alfred could stay within a step of the world champion, whose 10.83 was off the world lead of 10.77 but well ahead of the field. Alfred was second in 10.93, as one of three women – including Dina Asher-Smith – under 11 seconds. Thompson-Herah, the five-time Olympic champion, opened her season in ninth, in 11.30. Richardson said she was nervous “but I used that nervousness as my motivation.” 

Christian Coleman held off Ferdinand Omanyala to win the men’s 100m, 9.95 to 9.98. 

Gerald Drummond won the 400m hurdles in 48.56 out of the eighth lane, pulling ahead in the final 50m after Roshawn Clarke faded from first to fourth. Rai Benjamin, the world leader, had initially been entered, only to withdraw after feeling slight discomfort coming off his world-leading victory the week prior in Los Angeles.

Three women were within three-hundredths of a second at the finish of the 100m hurdles before Cyrena Samba-Mayela won in 12.52, tying her own French record. She was just ahead of Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, in 12.54.

Cyrena Samba-Mayela wins the 100m hurdles in Eugene

Cyrena Samba-Mayela wins the 100m hurdles in Eugene (© Matthew Quine / Diamond League AG)

Grant Holloway led the 110m hurdles by the third barrier and widened the gap by a whole stride at midway en route to the season’s fastest time of 13.03 – an improvement on the 13.07 he ran last week in Atlanta. Holloway extended his winning streak to 11 consecutive races in 2024. Only a late push by Daniel Roberts, second in 13.13, narrowed Holloway’s margin of victory only slightly over a strong field that included five who made the final of last year’s World Championships. Hansle Parchment, the Budapest silver medallist, was fourth in 13.28.

Diribe Welteji ran away with the 1500m victory in a personal best of 3:53.75, pulling Australia’s Jessica Hull to an area record 3:55.97 in the process, with Elle St. Pierre right behind in 3:56.00, a PB by two seconds. Hull had made breaking the Australian record her goal at the last Prefontaine Classic, in September, and felt it was possible after becoming very comfortable running 62-second laps during training, she said. 

Wearing what has become his trademark headband, one that on Saturday read “conqueror,” Kenny Bednarek led the 200m coming off the curve and won in 19.89, ahead of Courtney Lindsey’s 20.09. 

World silver medallist Valarie Allman led the discus from her first attempt but required a final throw of 67.36m to stay ahead of Yaime Perez, whose own final throw came close at 67.25m. Since winning the Tokyo Olympics, Allman said she had been searching for the past three years to recapture the rhythm that had led to her gold medal. 

Emily Grove won the pole vault at 4.63m, beating Robeilys Peinado and Olympic and world champion Katie Moon, who each cleared 4.53m. At the pre-meeting press conference, Moon acknowledged that training has been interrupted since the winter because of trouble with her achilles’ tendon. 

The triple jump world leader, Thea LaFond, finished second by nine centimetres, when her last attempt could not eclipse the first by winner Leyanis Hernandez Perez of 14.73m (2.1m/s).

Andrew Greif for World Athletics


*Subject to the usual ratification procedure