Series29 Dec 2022

2022 review: road running


Eliud Kipchoge breaks the world record at the Berlin Marathon (© Getty Images)

As the year draws to a close, we look back at the key moments of 2022 in each area of the sport.

The series continues with a review of road running and will be followed over the coming days by reviews of other event groups.

Women’s 5km and 10km

Season top list - 5km

14:32 Beatrice Chebet 🇰🇪 KEN Zurich 7 September
14:32 Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi 🇰🇪 KEN Zurich 7 September
14:33 Gudaf Tsegay 🇪🇹 ETH Zurich 7 September
14:33 Ejgayehu Taye 🇪🇹 ETH Zurich 7 September
14:37 Senbere Teferi 🇪🇹 ETH Herzogenaurach 30 April

Full season top list

Season top list - 10km

29:14 Yalemzerf Yehualaw 🇪🇹 ETH Castellon 27 February
30:07 Sheila Chepkirui 🇰🇪 KEN Brasov 25 September
30:14 Vicoty Chepngeno 🇰🇪 KEN Castellon 27 February
30:15 Hellen Obiri 🇰🇪 KEN Manchester 22 May
30:16 Irene Cheptai 🇰🇪 KEN Prague 3 September

Full season top list


Season at a glance

Yalemzerf Yehualaw, undefeated on the roads this year, hit the headlines with her marathon victories in Hamburg and London, but her world record over 10km was without doubt her best performance of the year.

The Ethiopian cruised through 3km in 8:36 and reached the half-way point in 14:28 – one of the fastest 5km clockings in history. Her paced slowed slightly in the second half but she held on to win in 29:14, winning by exactly one minute and smashing the ratified world record by 29 seconds.

Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw

Ethiopia’s Yalemzerf Yehualaw (© NN Running Team)

Athletes may have been racing on a track-like surface through the centre of Zurich for the Wanda Diamond League final, but the 5km events there are technically counted as road races. As such, Beatrice Chebet's winning time of 14:32 is the fastest time this year in a standalone 5km race, tied with Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, who was second in that race.

World 5km record-holder Senbere Teferi focused almost exclusively on the roads this year and it paid off with a string of five victories between March and July, four of them at 5km and 10km.

She won the 5km in Boston in mid-April in 14:49 and then returned to Herzogenaurach, the scene of her world record last year, to win again in 14:37. Fellow Ethiopian Medina Eisa, still only 17, was second in 14:53, finishing three seconds ahead of Kenya’s Mercy Cherono.

Fantaye Belayneh made it an Ethiopian double in Herzogenaurach, winning the 10km in 30:24. Sheila Kiprotich finished third in that race in 30:35, but rebounded later in the year to win in Brasov in 30:07.

Teferi, meanwhile, went on to win over 10km in New York (30:43, downhill) and Atlanta (30:50).

Britain’s Eilish McColgan also enjoyed a handful of victories over both distances, winning 5km in Dubai (14:48) in February and in Malaga (14:45) in April. She then won 10km in London in 30:25 and broke Paula Radcliffe’s British record with her 30:19 runner-up finish in Manchester in a race won by two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri (30:15).

Just seven women broke 15 minutes for 5km on the roads this year. Fantu Worku was one of those, winning a high-quality race in Lille in 14:47.

Kenya’s 2017 world cross-country champion Irene Cheptai was also successful on the roads, winning competitive 10km races in Bengaluru (30:35) and Prague (30:16). The unheralded Jeska Chelangat finished runner-up in Prague in 30:23 and could be one to watch next year.


Men’s 5km and 10km

Season top list - 5km

12:53 Yomif Kejelcha 🇪🇹 ETH Herzogenaurach 30 April
12:55 Nicholas Kipkorir 🇰🇪 KEN Herzogenaurach 30 April
13:00 Dominic Lobalu 🇸🇸 SSD Zurich 7 September
13:01 Grant Fisher 🇺🇸 USA Zurich 7 September
13:02 Levy Kibet 🇰🇪 KEN Herzogenaurach 30 April

Full season top list

Season top list - 10km

26:49 Joshua Cheptegei 🇺🇬 UGA Cannes 6 March
26:50 Kibiwott Kandie 🇰🇪 KEN Herzogenaurach 30 April
26:51 Nicholas Kipkorir 🇰🇪 KEN Brasov 25 September
26:54 Sabastian Sawe 🇰🇪 KEN Herzogenaurach 30 April
26:55 Weldon Langat 🇰🇪 KEN Brasov 25 September

Full season top list


Season at a glance

Before this year, just six men had ever broken 27 minutes for 10km. But in 2022 alone, 10 men achieved the feat.

World and Olympic champion Joshua Cheptegei produced a world-leading 26:49 to win in Cannes, finishing more than a minute ahead of his rivals.

The 10km in Herzogenaurach was much more competitive as Kibiwott Kandie won in 26:50 from Sabastian Sawe (26:54) and Rodrigue Kwizera, who set a Burundian record of 26:56 in third. Rhonex Kipruto (26:58) and Tadese Worku (26:59) were also close behind, as five men finished inside 27 minutes for the first time ever.

Kibiwott Kandie wins the 10km in Herzogenaurach

Kibiwott Kandie wins the 10km in Herzogenaurach (© Getty Images)

The 10km in Brasov in September almost matched that depth with Nicholas Kipkorir taking victory in 26:51 from fellow Kenyans Weldon Langat and Isaac Ndiema, both timed at 26:55.

Daniel Simiu Ebenyo was the other sub-27-minute performer this year, thanks to his 26:58 win in Valencia.

Three cities produced the top 19 times in the world over 5km this year.

Herzogenaurach was the fastest, as Yomif Kejelcha won in 12:53, beating Nicholas Kipkorir by two seconds. Levy Kibet (13:02) and Birhanu Balew (13:07) finished just the other side of the 13-minute barrier.

Later in the year, Kipkorir won an incredibly close 5km at the Wanda Diamond League final on the streets of Zurich, taking the title in 13:00 with South Sudan's Dominic Lobalu given the same time in second place. USA's Grant Fisher was third in 13:01.

Lille hosted two high-quality 5km races; the one in March had greater depth, but the one in October had a quicker winning time.

Ethiopia’s Telahun Haile won the earlier race, clocking 13:10 to finish three seconds ahead of Michael Kibet. Kenya’s Michael Temoii won the latter race in 13:07.


Women’s half marathon

Season top list

1:04:14 Girmawit Gebrzihair 🇪🇹 ETH Ras Al Khaimah 19 February
1:04:22 Hellen Obiri 🇰🇪 KEN Ras Al Khaimah 19 February
1:04:22 Yalemzerf Yehualaw 🇪🇹 ETH Larne 28 August
1:04:36 Sheila Chepkirui 🇰🇪 KEN Ras Al Khaimah 19 February
1:05:01 Tsehay Gemechu 🇪🇹 ETH Larne 28 August

Full season top list

World Athletics rankings

1 Yalemzerf Yehualaw 🇪🇹 ETH 1314
2 Hellen Obiri 🇰🇪 KEN 1279
3 Sheila Chepkirui 🇰🇪 KEN 1275
4 Tsehay Gemechu 🇪🇹 ETH 1265
5 Ruth Chepngetich 🇧🇭 BRN 1264

Full rankings


Season at a glance

Track specialist Girmawit Gebrzihair made a remarkable half marathon debut in Ras Al Khaimah in February, winning in 1:04:14 and putting the then 20-year-old at fourth place on the world all-time list. Only world record-holder Letesenbet Gidey has gone faster in a debut half marathon.

The first three women in Ras Al Khaimah finished inside 65 minutes with Hellen Obiri taking second place in 1:04:22 and fellow Kenyan Sheila Kiprotich placing third in 1:04:36.

Girmawit Gebrzihair wins the 2022 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

Girmawit Gebrzihair wins the 2022 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (© Alberto Mazzucchelli / Organisers)

Yalemzerf Yehualaw matched Obiri’s time when winning in Larne in late August, winning comfortably from Ethiopian compatriot Tsehay Gemechu (1:05:01).

Vicoty Chepngeno (Houston, 1:05:03), Margaret Kipkemboi (Barcelona, 1:05:26) and Konstanze Klosterhalfen (Valencia, 1:05:41) all won competitive half marathons in sub-66-minute times in 2022.

In total, 12 women broke 66 minutes for the half marathon this year, almost matching the record depth from 2021. But the number of women breaking 67 minutes (29) and 68 minutes (68) reached an all-time high in 2022.


Men’s half marathon

Season top list

57:56 Jacob Kiplimo 🇺🇬 UGA Ras Al Khaimah 19 February
58:10 Kibiwott Kandie 🇰🇪 KEN Valencia 23 October
58:30 Rodgers Kwemoi 🇰🇪 KEN Ras Al Khaimah 19 February
58:32 Yomif Kejelcha 🇪🇹 ETH Valencia 23 October
58:35 Keneth Kiprop Renju 🇰🇪 KEN Ras Al Khaimah 19 February

Full season top list

World Athletics rankings

1 Jacob Kiplimo 🇺🇬 UGA 1294
2 Kibiwott Kandie 🇰🇪 KEN 1268
3 Daniel Mateiko 🇰🇪 KEN 1268
4 Rhonex Kipruto 🇰🇪 KEN 1261
5 Amedework Walelegn 🇪🇹 ETH 1261

Full rankings


Season at a glance

World record-holder Jacob Kiplimo not only topped the world list for the third year in a row, he also produced his third successive season of sub-58-minute half marathons.

The Ugandan ran 57:56 to win in Ras Al Khaimah back in February. Although he was 25 seconds shy of his own world record, the then 21-year-old still won by a comfortable 34-second margin from Kenya’s Rodgers Kwemoi (58:30). The next five athletes all finished inside 59 minutes too.

Copenhagen in September and Valencia in October produced similar depth.

Ethiopia’s Milkesa Mengesha won in the Danish capital in a PB of 58:58 as a record 15 men finished within one hour.

Milkesa Mengesha wins the Copenhagen Half Marathon

Milkesa Mengesha wins the Copenhagen Half Marathon (© Organisers)

Former world record-holder Kibiwott Kandie took the spoils in Valencia in 58:10, where Yomif Kejelcha was second in an Ethiopian record of 58:32.

Sabastian Sawe emerged as a new force this year. The Kenyan won on his half marathon debut in Seville in January in 59:02, then won on the non-record-eligible Rome-Ostia course in 58:02. He was sixth in Valencia, albeit still in a respectable 59:23, then recently won in Manama in an official PB of 58:58. In between those exploits, he also won the one-hour race at the Wanda Diamond League meeting in Brussels, covering 21,250m.


Women’s marathon

Season top list

2:14:18 Ruth Chepngetich 🇰🇪 KEN Chicago 9 October
2:14:58 Amane Beriso 🇪🇹 ETH Valencia 4 December
2:15:37 Tigist Assefa 🇪🇹 ETH Berlin 25 September
2:16:02 Brigid Kosgei 🇰🇪 KEN Tokyo 6 March
2:16:49 Letesenbet Gidey 🇪🇹 ETH Valencia 4 December

Full season top list

World Athletics rankings

1 Gotytom Gebreslase 🇪🇹 ETH 1462
2 Ruth Chepngetich 🇰🇪 KEN 1447
3 Judith Jeptum Korir 🇰🇪 KEN 1408
4 Joyciline Jepkosgei 🇰🇪 KEN 1405
5 Lonah Chemtai Salpeter 🇮🇱 ISR 1400

Full rankings

World medallists

🥇 Gotytom Gebreslase 🇪🇹 ETH 2:18:11 CR
🥈 Judith Jeptum Korir 🇰🇪 KEN 2:18:20 PB
🥉 Lonah Chemtai Salpeter 🇮🇱 ISR 2:20:18
  Full results

Major winners

World Championships: Gotytom Gebreslase 🇪🇹 ETH 2:18:11
Tokyo: Brigid Kosgei 🇰🇪 KEN 2:16:02
Nagoya: Ruth Chepngetich 🇰🇪 KEN 2:17:18
Seoul: Joan Chelimo 🇷🇴 ROU 2:18:04
Boston: Peres Jepchirchir 🇰🇪 KEN 2:21:01
Berlin: Tigist Assefa 🇪🇹 ETH 2:15:27
London: Yalemzerf Yehualaw 🇪🇹 ETH 2:17:26
Chicago: Ruth Chepngetich 🇰🇪 KEN 2:14:18
Amsterdam: Almaz Ayana 🇪🇹 ETH 2:17:20
New York City: Sharon Lokedi 🇰🇪 KEN 2:23:23
Valencia: Amane Beriso 🇪🇹 ETH 2:14:58

Season at a glance

Whichever way you look at it, 2022 was the greatest year ever for the women’s marathon.

Three women broke 2:16, 10 bettered 2:18, and a staggering 27 athletes clocked sub-2:19 times. To put that last figure in context, before 2022 just 20 women in history had broken 2:19 for the marathon. It now requires a sub-2:18 run to make it into the world all-time top 20.

But there’s more to women’s marathon running in 2022 than just fast times. There have been enthralling clashes in most of the big city races this year.

In Nagoya in March, Ruth Chepngetich and Lonah Chemtai Salpeter were locked in battle for the first half until Salpeter made a break. But Chepngetich came back in the latter stages and claimed victory in 2:17:18, finishing more than a minute ahead of the Israeli runner.

The finish was even closer in Boston one month later as Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir managed to edge ahead of Ababel Yeshaneh to win by four seconds in 2:21:01. Just one day prior, Joan Chelimo had won the Seoul Marathon by just eight seconds in 2:18:04.

Joyciline Jepkosgei put up a strong defence of her London Marathon title but ultimately had to surrender to Yalemzerf Yehualaw, who broke away in the closing stages to win in 2:17:26. Two weeks later, old track foes Almaz Ayana and Genzebe renewed their rivalry when making their marathon debuts in Amsterdam. Ayana eventually won in 2:17:20 with Dibaba finishing second in a highly respectable 2:18:05.

Sharon Lokedi produced probably the biggest surprise in a World Marathon Majors race this year, winning on her debut in New York in 2:23:23 and beating Salpeter and Goytatom Gebreslase in an exciting climax.

The marathon at the World Championships was also a close affair with Gebreslase winning gold in a championship record of 2:18:11, just nine seconds ahead of silver medallist Judith Korir. Her World Championships triumph and third-place finishes in Tokyo and New York led to Gebreslase winning the World Marathon Majors series title for 2022.

Other big races had dominant displays, such as Brigid Kosgei’s 2:16:02 win in Tokyo, Ruth Chepngetich’s 2:14:18 triumph in Chicago, Tigist Assefa’s 2:15:37 victory in Berlin, and Amane Beriso’s 2:14:58 win in Valencia. At the latter, Letesenbet Gidey finished second in 2:16:49, the fastest debut marathon in history.

Performances may indeed be getting quicker, but the discipline as a whole also appears to be getting more competitive, resulting in mouth-watering races on the road-running scene.


Men’s marathon

Season top list

2:01:09 Eliud Kipchoge 🇰🇪 KEN Berlin 25 September
2:01:53 Kelvin Kiptum 🇰🇪 KEN Valencia 4 December
2:03:00 Gabriel Geay 🇹🇿 ETH Valencia 4 December
2:03:13 Amos Kipruto 🇰🇪 KEN Tokyo 6 March
2:03:29 Alexander Mutiso 🇰🇪 KEN Valencia 4 December

Full season top list

World Athletics rankings

1 Eliud Kipchoge 🇰🇪 KEN 1488
2 Tamirat Tola 🇪🇹 ETH 1471
3 Mosinet Geremew 🇪🇹 ETH 1427
4 Amos Kipruto 🇰🇪 KEN 1413
5 Seifu Tura 🇪🇹 ETH 1386

Full rankings

World medallists

🥇 Tamirat Tola 🇪🇹 ETH 2:05:36 CR
🥈 Mosinet Geremew 🇪🇹 ETH 2:06:44
🥉 Bashir Abdi 🇧🇪 BEL 2:06:48
  Full results

Major winners

World Championships: Tamirat Tola 🇪🇹 ETH 2:05:36
Tokyo: Eliud Kipchoge 🇰🇪 KEN 2:02:40
Seoul: Mosinet Geremew 🇪🇹 ETH 2:04:43
Boston: Evans Chebet 🇰🇪 KEN 2:06:51
Berlin: Eliud Kipchoge 🇰🇪 KEN 2:01:09
London: Amos Kipruto 🇰🇪 KEN 2:04:39
Chicago: Benson Kipruto 🇰🇪 KEN 2:04:24
Amsterdam: Tsegaye Getachew 🇪🇹 ETH 2:04:49
New York City: Evans Chebet 🇰🇪 KEN 2:08:41
Valencia: Kelvin Kiptum 🇰🇪 KEN 2:01:53

Season at a glance

It was another remarkable year for Eliud Kipchoge.

The Kenyan marathon legend started 2022 by smashing the course record in Tokyo – scene of his Olympic triumph just seven months prior – winning in 2:02:40. He then lined up in the German capital for the fifth time in his glittering career and broke his own world record with 2:01:09.

Off the back of those victories, Kipchoge was unsurprisingly confirmed winner of the World Marathon Majors series for a record fifth time.

It was close, though, as compatriot Evans Chebet also notched up two big city wins. He won in Boston in April in 2:06:51 and then crossed the line in first place in New York City in November in 2:08:41, finishing just 13 seconds ahead of Ethiopia’s Shura Kitata.

Chebet, who is a 2:03:00 performer at his best, showed that marathon success is about more than just fast times. His winning time in Boston, which isn’t even eligible for records or lists due to the point-to-point course, wouldn’t even rank inside the top 75 performances of the year.

Amos Kipruto, who finished second to Kipchoge in Tokyo, went on to win in London in 2:04:39. Namesake Benson Kipruto completed a Kenyan sweep of men’s big city marathons, taking the Chicago title in 2:04:24.

The men’s marathon wasn’t an all-Kenyan affair in 2022, though. In fact, no Kenyan men made it on to the marathon podium at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. Ethiopia’s Tamirat Tola won gold in a championship record of 2:05:36 with compatriot Mosinet Geremew taking silver (2:06:44) and Belgium’s Bashir Abdi earning bronze, four seconds further behind.

But perhaps the biggest surprise in the men’s marathon in 2022 came at the Valencia Marathon in early December when debutant Kelvin Kiptum triumphed in 2:01:53, the fastest debut in history and enough for third on the world all-time list. Only Kipchoge and the legendary Kenenisa Bekele have ever gone faster.

It also proved to be the deepest race of the year as six men finished inside 2:05 and, for the first time ever, 18 men broke 2:08.

World Athletics

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