Meseret Defar Wins Her Fourth Global 5000m Title

American Molly Huddle Finishes 6th – Highest Ever By An American in Women’s 5000

August 17, 2013

Moscow, Russia – Ethiopia’s Meseret Defar used a 29.32 final 200 to close out a final 1600 of 4:23.44 (1500 of 4:06.67) take the women’s 5000 title at the 2013 IAAF World Championships as expected in 14:50.19, giving her two career World 5000s crowns to go with her two Olympic 5000s.

The runner-up was Kenya’s 2008 and 2010 world junior 3,000 champ, Mercy Cherono, who ran 14:51.22 as Ethiopia’s 21-year-old Almaz Ayana, who had the fastest seasonal best on the year of all the competitors at 14:25.84, got bronze in 14:51.33. It was the first senior global medals for either Cherono or Ayana.

American record holder Molly Huddle took top non-African born honors in sixth in 15:05.73 as she went by fellow American Shannon Rowbury just after they hit the homestretch. Rowbury ended up seventh in a seasonal best 15:06.10. The sixth place finish by Huddle was the highest ever by an American (David Monti told us Lauren Fleshman, Libbie Hickman and Jen Rhines had all finished seventh before at Worlds).

Top European honors went to former Florida State star Susan Kuijken who was eighth in 15:14.70. The third American in the race, Kim Conley was 12th in 15:36.58.

2013 Women’s 5000 Results
1 Meseret Defar ETH 14:50.19
2 Mercy Cherono KEN 14:51.22
3 Almaz Ayana ETH 14:51.33
4 Viola Jelagat Kibiwot KEN 15:01.67
5 Buze Diriba ETH 15:05.38
6 Molly Huddle USA 15:05.73
7 Shannon Rowbury USA 15:06.10
8 Susan Kuijken NED 15:14.70
9 Elena Nagovitsyna RUS 15:24.83
10 Dolores Checa ESP 15:30.42
11 Tejitu Daba BRN 15:33.89
12 Kim Conley USA 15:36.58
13 Karoline Bjerkeli Grøvdal NOR 15:48.87
14 Dominika Nowakowska POL 15:58.26
15 Jackie Areson AUS 16:08.32Splits:
1000m 3:10.78 Dominika Nowakowska POL
2000m 6:14.02 Dominika Nowakowska POL
3000m 9:18.35 Almaz Ayana ETH
4000m 12:09.01 Almaz Ayana ETH

The full race results appear on the right. Now we give you give you our race analysis with 7 quick takes.

Quick Take #1: Defar Probably Would Have Beaten Dibaba Had She Been In This One
Defar is in incredible form right now. After the semifinal, she said her training has been better than ever and that’s saying a lot for a 14:12 woman.

Even if Tirunesh Dibaba was in this race, we’re thinking that Defar would have been your winner. Defar’s race today was very similar, arguably better than her win over Dibaba in the Olympics last year. Tonight Defar’s last lap was better today and her overall time was faster as well.

Leader’s Last 4 Laps at 2012 London
4 out – 68.95
3 out – 68.56.
2 out – 65.12
last – 60.20
4:22.83 – Final time of 15:04.25
Defar’s Last 4 Laps Tonight at Moscow 2013
4 out – 69.00
3 out – 67.66
2 out – 66.96
last – 59.82
4:23.44 – Final time of 14:50.10

We don’t think Defar was going all out tonight on the last lap as she looked over her shoulder several times in the final 200 and her final 100 was slower than her previous 100 indicating she was letting up on the gas a little bit.

QT #2. Might Defar take a crack at Dibaba’s 14:11.15 world record later this year? She ran 14:04 pace the last half here.
That’s a question we asked her at the post-race press conference, hoping she’d bite at our question, but Defar didn’t fall for our mini-trap of a question.

Article continues below player.

“My shape is high. My shape is good but I (won’t) tell now that I’ll break the world record again, but I’ll try my best,” said Defar.

After the semis, Defar herself pointed out its hard to set up a women’s race at that pace. We hope to see Defar go for it and know one thing. She got some nice practice in today at world record pace as the race really picked up right at 2400 meters. As a result, Defar ran her second half tonight in 7:02.03 – or 14:04.06 pace.

QT #3: This one went pretty much according to form.
There were five women in the field with a sub-15:00 seasonal best and they monopolized the top five finishing places with ease.

QT #4: Ayana Is Now Sticking To The 5000
After the race, Ayana who up until halfway through this year was known primarily as a steeplechaser thanks to her 9:22.51 world junior record from 2010, said she thinks she’ll stick with the 5000 from now on. That’s a good call as she’s been unable to break her 9:22.51 personal best for three years.

QT #5: Molly Huddle Was Happy And Hoping She’s in 14:40 Shape
We caught up with a happy Molly Huddle after the race (interview embedded on the right). Huddle says she’s got one more 5000 on tap for this year in Zürich.

When we asked her what type of shape she was in, she said she hoped she could run around 14:40 which would be a new American record. The problem is she knows to run that fast she needs a race that is set up perfectly for that type of pace. If Defar is going for a really fast one, the race may not be set up well for Huddle.

Huddle got some nice work at 14:40 pace in this one as Huddle ran her last half of this race in a quick 7:17.36 (her last 3k was 8:50.8).

QT #6: As for Rowbury, she was pleased to be able to compete here at 5000m and performed relatively well. Ideally, however, she would have been running the 1500m, but USATF did not enter her in the 1500m, because Rowbury did not email them saying she had achieved the qualifying standard (even though she achieved the mark at the Diamond League meet in Monaco one of the biggest meets in the World). Rowbury indicated she has not spoken to anyone with USATF about the issue since she was told in the hotel lobby she couldn’t run the 1500m, but that she was not happy with how it was handled and plans to follow up with some letters now that Worlds are over. She acknowledged there are good people at USATF, but wasn’t pleased at all at how her situation was handled. Interview with her embedded.

QT #7: It’s Still Ridiculous That Defar and Dibaba Didn’t Race Each Other in Moscow

Defar’s resurgence last year and this has been very fun to see. The fact that she ran a 30:08.06 10,000 earlier this year in a race where she ran 20 laps alone is a sign she’s in great shape. That being said, it was disappointing for the fans that she didn’t clash with Dibaba at least once in Moscow.

Imagine if other sports operated in similar fashion. Tennis would be a lot less compelling if the stars simply stuck to their best surfaces like Dibaba and Defar stuck to their best distances here. Tennis fans would be justifiably outraged if Nadal only played the French Open as he’s best on clay, if Federer only played on Wimbledon because he’s best on grass and Djokovic only played on hard-courts as he’s best there.

In the press conference, Defar said the avoidance of Dibaba was the federation’s call and not hers.

“I like to run with Dibaba. She is the strongest athlete and my biggest competitor is Dibaba. I like to run with Dibaba,” said Defar.

We were pleased that Kenya’s Mercy Cherono ended up with the silver as the Ethiopians at least lost out on a silver because of Dibaba’s absence (although Dibaba only got bronze in London in the 5000).

Additional post-race interviews with Kuijken and Cherono appear below.

Susan Keijken

Mercy Cherono

The Americans were in it early when the pace was slow Molly Huddle was up front past halfway
Defar 100 meters from victory Defar 100 meters from victory
Time to celebrate Time to celebrate



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