Tirunesh Dibaba Remains Undefeated For Her Life at 10,000 – Wins Record 5th Global 10,000 Title

By David Monti, with significant additions/edits added by LetsRun.com.
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

MOSCOW (11-Aug) — During the women’s 10,000m tonight at the 14th IAAF World Championships here, thick storm clouds gathered over Luzhniki Stadium. A storm was coming and it wasn’t just named Usain Bolt who would win the men’s 100 final admidst real lightning strikes just a few minutes after the women’s 10,000. Before the rain fell on the men’s 100m final a few minutes later, Tirunesh Dibaba unleashed her own burst of lightning, sprinting away from the field and winning her third world 10,000m title and her first since 2007.

Her time of 30:43.37 was solid, but it was the sheer speed of her final 500 which impressed most. Running second in a single line of five women led by Japan’s Hitomi Niiya, Dibaba did not take the lead until there were 500 meters remaining in the race. When she pulled ahead, Niiya immediately fell back, leaving her Ethiopian teammate Belaynesh Oljira and Kenya’s Gladys Cherono to give chase.

“That is what I planned,” Dibaba told reporters later through a translator.

Dibaba, who also has two world 5000m titles, left nothing to chance. She went full throttle at the bell, circling the blue Mondo track in a blistering 59.98 seconds. None of the women in the field could match that kind of speed.

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“For this race I had trained very well, because the last two championships we had missed out on the gold,” Dibaba declared. “Because of that, both as a team and individually, we trained very hard for this.”

Behind Dibaba, the 30-year-old Gladys Cherono, who is one of the most improved runners on the planet over the last two years as she’d dropped her 10,000 and 13.1 prs from 31:40 and 70:43 to 30:29 and 66:48, was clearly second best in 30:45.17.

“I’m happy for what I achieved today,” said Cherono. “I was not expecting to be in the bracket of a medal.”

Tirunesh Dibaba Wins World Gold #5 Tirunesh Dibaba Wins World Gold #5

The battle for third ended up being very, very tight. At the bell, the 2013 world cross country bronze medallist Oljira was already a few meters clear of fourth placer Emily Chebet, the two time World Cross Country champion. On the last lap, the gap between third and fourth would grow to roughly 6 or 7 meters before Chebet rallied furiously in the homestretch and nearly gunned down Oljira.

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Chebet actually might have pass Oljira on the outside just before the line but give Oljira credit, she didn’t let up and responded and leaned and got the final medal by just .04 – 30:46.98 tp 30:47.02.

Why no double for Dibaba?

Many fans had hoped that Dibaba would race against Meseret Defar in the 5000m here, but she had only entered the 10,000m. A reporter pressed her on why this was, and she responded that it had nothing to do with fearing her longtime rival, but was rather a decision by the Ethiopian federation to allow younger athletes to have a chance at competing in a world championships.

“The federation didn’t force me,” she began. “The federation asked us to just run one race each, and that’s why I left that race. Both of us have run many times, and they told us that they wanted upcoming athletes to have a chance, and we agreed with that.”

Niiya, who led the race from 3600 to 9500 meters, was rewarded with a personal best of 30:56.70 in fifth place. Two-time IAAF World Cross Country Championships gold medalist, Emily Chebet of Kenya, finished fourth (30:47.02 PB).

American Shalane Flanagan, the 2008 Olympic bronze medalist at 10,000m, led the race from the gun until Niiya took over the lead, setting up a fast pace. Although she finished a creditable 8th in 31:34.83, she was clearly disappointed.

“I’ll be honest, after Nationals I just haven’t felt like clicking like I was, prior,” Flanagan explained. “I think I just had kind of a long year with my training.” She added: “It wasn’t how I wanted it to go; I wanted to be in the mix.”

There were two other Americans in the race, both of whom finished a lap down. Jordan Hasay was 12th in 32:17.93 and Amy Hastings was 14th in 32:51.19.

Race Analysis via quick takes and then results added by LetsRun.com

Quik Take (QT) #1: Dibaba doesn’t get the credit she deserves.

She is UNDEFEATED FOR HER LIFE for 10,000 a perfect 11 for 11, included in those 11 victories are three World Championships and two Olympic titles, but this was her first World 10,000 title since 2007 as she missed the 2009 and 2011 Worlds due to injury.

She’s clearly back in a major way. Despite missing the last two worlds, she now has five individual gold medals at Worlds – the most ever by a single athlete (Usain Bolt has 4 and likely will catch her next weekend)

Had Defar run the 10,000, would Dibaba had won? Dibaba’s undefeated record at the distance and Defar’s struggles at Worlds in the 10,000 in 2009 (5th) and 2011 (DNF) say yes, but it’s a shame the fans didn’t get to see the mouth-watering matchup. Dibaba also sounded like she was very confident in her fitness for as pointed out above she said she “trianed very well” for this race.

QT #2: Is the last time we see Dibaba in a global 10,000 on the track?

Dibaba was supposed to make her marathon debut in London this spring but missed that with an injury and will try again in April 2014. The good news is Dibaba said she’s not done with the track. “Next year I am planning on running the marathon but not at the expense of the 5 and 10,000,” said Dibaba.

Shalane Flanagan Led Early

QT #3: The End of the Line for Flanagan as a Medal Threat on the Track?

Shalane Flanagan has an Olympic 10,000m bronze and a World XC bronze to her name. Tonight she came up short of the medal stand. Afterwards, she was very honest in her assessment.

She said, “I’m a marathoner trying to be a track runner. I’m older. I ran a race that I thought would set me up to run decent because I don’t have enough leg speed at the end of races clearly. I’ll be honest, after national I haven’t felt the clicking I was feeling prior. I think it’s been a long year… It wasn’t how I wanted it to go. I wanted to be in the mix. I always come with the intention of contending and I really didn’t contend.”

Flanagan had devoted a lot of time and energy this year to trying to win the Boston Marathon. She said, “I’ve been going pretty hard core trying to win a major marathon. I was trying to imagine I wasn’t on the track, I was doing a cross country race.”

Then she was as blunt as we’ve seen of any athlete on their own place in the global order saying, “I’ve had my glory days on the track… I’m still trying to do the best I can.” She later added, “I’m older. I can still be at major events (on the track). It’s going to take something really special or someone to mess up for me to be on the podium if I’m honest with myself.”

Flanagan is now 32, asked what the difference between now and 2008 was she said, “(2008 was part of the) couple of years where you have that really good combination of endurance and speed. (Now) I’ve switched more to the endurance aspect and I’ve had to really work on my leg speed. It just doesn’t come as natural. I’m older.”

QT #4: Jordan Hasay has nothing to be ashamed about

The former teen and Oregon star has a lot of fans as she’s been in the public eye since being the darling of the 2008 Olympic Trials as a high schooler. Some casual fans might be shocked to realize she was lapped and finished 12th in 32:17.93.

Dibaba’s winning time was 48.69 seconds off her pb. Hasay’s time was 31.53 seconds of her pb.

Mid-d and distance wise, the largest gap between the average US elite and the world’s elite is in the women’s distance events. It’s just super hard to be competitive.

If you are a huge Hasay fan, you can download our post-race audio interview with Hasay here. Overall she was pretty upbeat about things and said she’s still got some racing to do as she really wants to lower her 5000 pb. She’ll be running a 3000 and a 5000 before calling it a season.

Hasay also noted that this was her 6th 10k of the year. Tirunesh Dibaba the world’s greatest 10,000m runner ever has run 11 ever. Hasay indicated she may not run the 10,000m at all next year.

One more thing about Hasay. She’s just a class act. This had to be was the first time she was ever lapped in a race but she moved out to lane two to not get in the way.

QT #4: Amy Hastings struggled from the first mile of this one. Afterwards she said, “It was just a really rough day. I felt good going into it, and I’ve been working hard, but it just wasn’t there today.”

QT #5: Think women have the same opportunity as men in Africa? The Ugandan national record was set in this race tonight. The time? 32:57.02 by Juliet Chekwel. She came in with a 33:50.75 pb.


1 Tirunesh DIBABA ETHb30:43.35
2 Gladys CHERONO KEN 30:45.17
3 Belaynesh OLJIRA ETH 30:46.98
4 Emily CHEBET KEN 30:47.02 PB
5 Hitomi NIIYA JPN 30:56.70 PB
6 Shitaye ESHETE BRN 31:13.79 SB
7 Selly Chepyego KAPTICH KEN 31:22.11 PB
8 Shalane FLANAGAN USA 31:34.83
9 Ababel YESHANEH ETH 32:02.09
10 Christelle DAUNAY FRA 32:04.44 SB
11 Marisol ROMERO MEX 32:16.36
12 Jordan HASAY USA 32:17.93
13 Ana Dulce FÉLIX POR 32:36.73
14 Amy HASTINGS USA 32:51.19
15 Karolina JARZYNSKA POL 32:54.15
16 Juliet CHEKWEL UGA 32:57.02 NR
17 Gulshat FAZLITDINOVA RUS 33:31.49

1000M 3:07.57 Shalane FLANAGAN UNITED STATES
2000M 6:13.92 Shalane FLANAGAN UNITED STATES
3000M 9:20.85 Shalane FLANAGAN UNITED STATES
4000M 12:26.25 Hitomi NIIYA JAPAN
5000M 15:30.38 Hitomi NIIYA JAPAN
6000M 18:35.06 Hitomi NIIYA JAPAN
7000M 21:42.62 Hitomi NIIYA JAPAN
8000M 24:48.66 Hitomi NIIYA JAPAN
9000M 27:54.12 Hitomi NIIYA JAPAN

Need Lap By Lap Splits? We’ve got you covered for the most part in our messageboard thread. Also see table below.

Photos? World’s 10,000m Photo Gallery

Full Race Lap Splits:

distance split lap lap/km leader
400 01:12,17 Flangan
800 02:30,77 01:18,60 Flangan
1000 03:07,57 03:07,57 Flangan
1200 03:44,73 01:13,96 Flangan
1600 04:59,34 01:14,61 Flangan
2000 06:13,92 01:14,58 03:06,35 Flangan
2400 07:28,63 01:14,71 Flangan
2800 08:43,29 01:14,66 Flangan
3000 09:20,85 03:06,93 Flangan
3200 09:58,54 01:15,25 Flangan
3600 11:13,23 01:14,69 Niiya
4000 12:26,25 01:13,02 03:05,40 Niiya
4400 13:39,98 01:13,73 Niiya
4800 14:53,45 01:13,47 Niiya
5000 15:30,38 03:04,13 Niiya
5200 16:07,14 01:13,69 Niiya
5600 17:20,72 01:13,58 Niiya
6000 18:35,06 01:14,34 03:04,68 Niiya
6400 19:49,99 01:14,93 Niiya
6800 21:05,12 01:15,13 Niiya
7000 21:42,62 03:07,56 Niiya
7200 22:19,76 01:14,64 Niiya
7600 23:34,51 01:14,75 Niiya
8000 24:48,66 01:14,15 03:06,04 Niiya
8400 26:02,81 01:14,15 Niiya
8800 27:16,96 01:14,15 Niiya
9000 27:54,12 03:05,46 Niiya
9200 28:31,08 01:14,12 Niiya
9600 29:43,39 01:12,31 Dibaba
10000 30:43,37 00:59,98 02:49,25 Dibaba

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