Letesenbet Gidey Gets Her Gold, Outkicks Hellen Obiri, Sifan Hassan to Win 10,000m at 2022 World Championships

By LetsRun.com
July 16, 2022

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EUGENE, Ore. – Who says Letesenbet Gidey can not kick?

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The world 5,000 and 10,000m record holder from Ethiopia outkicked five women, including Olympic legend Sifan Hassan, on the final lap of the 10,000m final at the 2022 World Athletics Championship to get the win and her elusive gold medal in 30:09.94. Two-time defending 5,000m World Champion Hellen Obiri was second in 30:10.02 as fellow Kenyan Margaret Kipkemboi was 3rd in 30:10.07 as the top 3 were only separated by .13. Hassan settled for 4th in 31:10.56.

Karissa Schweizer was in contention until two laps to go and was the first American in 9th in a pb of 30:18.05.

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This race came down to the final 400m where six women were still in contention. Gidey did an inside pass on Ethiopian Ejgayehu Taye with 500m to go to take the lead. The penultimate lap of 69.17 was the fastest of the race until that point, but the real racing was about to begin as six women were in contention for gold, including Hassan who was still 5th in the lead pack.

Gidey led onto the backstretch and Taye tried to come up on her shoulder but could not get by. Obiri then went by Taye around the final bend on the inside, as Hassan was moving up on the outside at the same time, and they both pulled up on the shoulder of Gidey with 100m to go.

Gidey glanced over her shoulder and they all began a mad dash for home. Gidey would look over her shoulder six times the final straight but would never give up the slight lead. Obiri was right behind her but could never get rid of the gap of a few feet. With 50 m to go, Hassan was no longer gaining on them and it was between Gidey and Obiri. Gidey was tiring and glanced over her shoulder again just meters from the finish and made contact with Obiri as Gidey had drifted out into the middle of lane 2. But there was no real estate left and Gidey had just held off Obiri for the win thanks to a 60.77 final lap, as Kipkemobi stuck to the rail to come up and get bronze just ahead of Hassan.

GIdey and Obiri in lane 2 at the finish

The Race

Japan’s Ririka Hironaka did most of the early leading splitting 4:54 for the 1st two 1600s. The field hit 5,000m in 15:19 and 15 of the 19 starters were still in contention with Eilish McColgan of Great Britain taking over. The field continued to run 73 and 74-second laps until Gidey decided to take over with 8 laps to go. She went to the front and began pushing the pace.

She ran 71.27 with 7 laps to go and Alicia Monson of the USA was dropped. The rest of the way home it was Gidey or Taye in front, pushing the pace. Obiri was always right on the lead as well. A 70.0 with 5 to go made it a lead pack of 9 with Hassan content to stay in the back. It was 71 seconds laps until the 2 to go where there were 9 still together but Schweizer was starting to fall off the back. The 69.17 penultimate lap made it the final six who kicked the final lap for the medals.

A full analysis of gth 10,000 and post-race commentary appear below the results. Then we recap the rest of the day 2 morning action including the women’s steeple prelims and men’s 110h and 400h prelims.

POS COUNTRY ATHLETE MARK
1 ETH Letesenbet GIDEY 30:09.94 WL
2 KEN Hellen OBIRI 30:10.02 PB
3 KEN Margaret Chelimo KIPKEMBOI 30:10.07 PB
4 NED Sifan HASSAN 30:10.56 SB
5 ERI Rahel DANIEL 30:12.15 NR
6 ETH Ejgayehu TAYE 30:12.45 PB
7 KAZ Caroline Chepkoech KIPKIRUI 30:17.64 NR
8 ETH Bosena MULATIE 30:17.77 PB
9 USA Karissa SCHWEIZER 30:18.05 PB
10 GBR Eilish MCCOLGAN 30:34.60
11 GBR Jessica JUDD 30:35.93 PB
12 JPN Ririka HIRONAKA 30:39.71 PB
13 USA Alicia MONSON 30:59.85
14 UGA Stella CHESANG 31:01.04 NR
15 USA Natosha ROGERS 31:10.57 PB
16 UGA Mercyline CHELANGAT 31:28.26 SB
17 RSA Dominique SCOTT 31:40.73
18 ERI Dolshi TESFU 31:49.29 SB
19 JPN Rino GOSHIMA 32:08.68

Quick Take: Gidey wound up beating Hellen Obiri and Sifan Hassan at their own game

Gidey declined to stop in the mixed zone and the press conference was cancelled because Gidey did not want to speak until after the 5,000. She did issue the following statement to World Athletics:

This was the biggest aim I had. The dream came true. This victory is even more important to me than a world record, I am so happy about this performance. I was thinking about winning this gold since 2019. But Hassan was always there. I was also watching Obiri. This time, I was really watching them and I knew I had to be very fast in the last 300m. I managed to stay in front and kept the pace until the finish line. I have the next dream now – to win the gold at 5000m. With the god’s help, I can get the double, I am very confident now.

The Ethiopian team tactics were clear with Gidey and Taye trading leads for the final two miles in an attempt to whittle down the field. It didn’t really work though: with 300 meters to go, there were still six women in the lead pack.

That’s the sort of scenario Gidey was likely trying to avoid as Sifan Hassan had destroyed her over the last lap in the last two global finals. Check out the numbers:

Year

Winning time

Hassan last lap

Gidey last lap

2019

30:17.23

61.49

64.87

2021

29:55.32

61.60

68.02

2022

30:09.94

60.97

60.77

How in the world did that happen? Gidey somehow went from a woman who had nothing on the last lap to someone who is holding off big kickers like Hassan and Obiri over the final 400. Now Gidey had the advantage of leading at the bell and running the shortest distance, but Hassan somehow closed faster today than she did in either Doha or Tokyo, despite running the final turn mostly in lane 2. 

That being said, Hassan admitted she wasn’t as sharp as in previous years as she had a late start to her 2022 season. Obiri, likewise, went into the year planning to run only on the roads so her kick wasn’t what it could have been. But 60.77 is still seriously fast – a kind of gear Gidey had not yet shown to be capable of to this point in her career.

Of course that table above is a little misleading as the final four laps in Doha were way faster overall than tonight. In Doha, Gidey ran her final 1500 in 4:03.68 and lost by a wide margin as Hassan closed in 3:59.09. Here’s another chart comparing the 2019 and 2022 Worlds.

 

Final 5k

Final 3200

Final 1600

Final 800

Final 400

2019 Doha

14:45

9:13.35

4:17.48

2:07.26

61.10

2022 Eugene

14:50

9:15.95

4:31.92

2:09.97

60.77

Looking that, it’s pretty clear that Hassan of 2019 would have been the winner this afternoon.

Quick Take: Should Gidey have been DQ’d? 

Gidey was well aware that the kickers were coming at her on the last lap, looking over her shoulder no less than five times during the final straight. Once she saw Obiri was closing hard, she drifted out into Obiri’s path and Obiri, who was running faster than Gidey at the end, wound up bumping into her slightly just before the finish line.

Did Gidey obstruct Obiri? Yes. Was it egregious? No. Did it affect the outcome? Probably not, but “probably not” impacting the outcome of gold vs silver is a big deal.

Obiri told us afterwards = that she was “not happy” about what happened in the final 20 meters but had a good attitude about things, saying that contact such as that is part of racing.

“It’s all about sports. I won’t do anything (in terms of protest). The race is over…It was not something good. I can say so, but it’s about sports who am I to complain?…Everybody wants to win. Everyone is coming. It’s all about sports.”

And in any event, Kenya did not protest and the result will stand.

It’s a little hard to hear exactly everything Obiri said about the contact but you can listen to her talk about it below (cued to the part where she talks abou the contact)

Obiri was also happy to have run a personal best of 30:10 – an improvement of 14 seconds on her previous best from last year’s Olympic final.

Quick Take:  Is a marathon debut in NYC next up for Hellen Obiri? We think it is.

Hellen Obiri said that she now would start getting prepared for a marathon debut and let it slip that it would be in November. To us, a November marathon means NYC.

Quick Take: Sifan Hassan was very proud to finish 4th

If you thought Hassan would be disappointed with fourth after claiming double gold at the 2019 Worlds and 2021 Olympics, you’d be totally incorrect. Hassan took a very long break after her epic 2021 season, and though she tried to return to training a few times earlier in the year, her motivation was lacking, and felt she needed to give her body time to rest lest she risk burning herself out before her next big goal, the 2024 Olympics in Tokyo.

Hassan finally returned to training in early May and with that in mind was proud that she was able to contend for the win despite that limited buildup. She only ran 15:13 for 5,000 in her first race back last week but ran a faster pace than that for 10,000 today, clocking 30:10.

Hassan said she didn’t feel great at the start of the race, but felt better during the second half and surprisingly good over the final 200. But the top gear she has had in past years wasn’t there.

“I know the girl was pushing,” Hassan said. “I was like, I can’t do anything. Just like slow-motion.”

Quick Take: Karissa Schweizer ran a terrific race

One year ago at this time, Karissa Schweizer didn’t even want to run, so persistent was the pain in her Achilles. She suffered through a 12th place 31:12 in the Olympic final, narrowly avoiding getting lapped. Running was not fun for her.

Today was a complete 180. Schweizer underwent Achilles surgery after the 2021 season and now that she’s healed she is back to loving the sport. Her result today was one of the best of her career as she ran a 29-second personal best of 30:18.05 to move up to #3 on the all-time US list and place 9th at Worlds. It’s a lot to ask an athlete to run PR pace for 23 laps and then try to kick, and Schweizer didn’t have much left when the kicking really got going with two laps to go. But a huge pb and top non-African-born honors is a strong result for the 26-year-old.

All-time US 10,000m list
1. 30:13.17 Molly Huddle 2016 Olympics
2. 30:14.66 Elise Cranny 2022 The TEN
3. 30:18.05 Karissa Schweizer 2022 Worlds
4. 30:22.22 Shalane Flanagan 2008 Olympics
5. 30:49.57 Emily Sisson 2019 Stanford Invite

Quick take After a “roller coaster” of a season, Eilish McColgan is tired of finishing 10th as she’s feeling like she’s improving a lot but the results don’t show it on paper

Our post-race talk was interesting as McColgan said she knows she’s improving a lot as a runner but yet again she was 10th at a global champs (she actually was 9th last year in Tokyo).

McColgan says it’s been a roller coaster of a year as after a 66:26 British record at the RAK Half in February she got COVID. Then after running 30:19.02 to win the Ethiopian trials in Hengelo, she got sick again and had to drop out of Oslo and skip the British Trials. She finally got going again but then five days ago hurt her hamstring so badly that as of two days ago she couldn’t run. 

So she was pleased her hamstring improved rapidly and she was able to finish but she said she knew early on today that she was in a bit of trouble as the pace didn’t feel as comfortable as it did in Hengelo.

Quick Take: Alicia Monson was 13th for the second year in a row but didn’t feel as good about this one

Monson was 13th last year in Tokyo in her first global championships and felt okay with that result given it was her debut, but today she was expecting an improvement and instead wound up finishing in the same position (she ran 22 seconds faster today but conditions were also way better in Eugene than Tokyo). 

“Once the big move was made about ⅔ of the way through the race, for some reason, whether it be mental or physical, I can’t really explain it, but I just wasn’t quite there today,” Monsoon said.

Monson pondered whether she tapered incorrectly or wasn’t mentally prepared, but said she will analyze things afterward and try to produce some answers.

Quick take: Natosha Rogers was proud of herself for PRing (31:10.57) and trying to “stay as competitive as possible and putting her neck up in there” but feels she’s a sub-31 performer right now

Rogers did admit she was a little disappointed that when she got dropped with about 2 miles to go that she didn’t fight harder. She said looking forward to making a second US team next year and admitted she celebrated a little bit when she realized she wouldn’t get lapped at Worlds.

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Women’s Steeple Prelims: Jeruto Looks Great As The Americans Advance on Time

The women’s steeple prelims went according to form for the most part as 9 of the 10 women who had run under 9:15 on the year all advanced to the final, with the lone casualty being 17-year-old Simbo Alemayehu of Ethiopia, the Paris DL runner-up this year in 9:09.19, who did not qualify after running 9:21.10 for fifth in heat 3.

All three Americans made the final, but all three did so as time qualifiers as all three were just fourth in their heat and only top 3 in each heat were guaranteed to advance. Emma Coburn ran 9:15.19 in heat 1, Courtney Wayment ran 9:14.95 in heat 2, and Courtney Frerichs ran 9:17.91 in heat 3.

Steeple favorite Norah Jeruto, who was running in her first Worlds after a long wait as she became eligible for Kazakhstan, ran the fastest time of the day as she blitzed a 9:01.54 in heat 1. The biggest positive surprise of the day was Marwa Bouzayani of Tunisia. At the start of year, the 25-year-old had a 9:31.25 pb, but she ran 9:23.57 in her season opener and now 9:12.14 to make the final. France’s Alice Finot lowered her national record from 9:19.50 to 9:14.34 to advance to the final out of heat two while Aimee Pratt ran a 9:18.91 British record out of heat 2 to advance. She came in with a pb of 9:25.48.

Olympic champ Peruth Chemutai, who came in seeded 5th at 9:05, didn’t look good and admitted to us afterwards she’s not 100%. *Results

Top 10 Seeds / Result

08:56.55

 

Winfred Yavi

BRN

3rd in heat 3 in 9:17.32.

08:57.97

NR

Norah Jeruto

KAZ

Won heat 1 in 9:01.54.

09:03.26

 

Mekides Abebe

ETH

Q- 9:14.83 in heat 2

09:05.54

 

Peruth Chemutai

UGA

q – time qualifier heat 2 in 9:16.66

09:07.81

 

Werkwuha Getachew

ETH

Q – 2nd heat 1 in 9:11.25

09:09.19

WU18B

Simbo Alemayehu

ETH

DNQ – 5th in heat 3 in 9:21.10

09:10.17

 

Celliphine Chespol

KEN

Q – Won heat 3 in 9:16.78

09:10.63

 

Emma Coburn

USA

q – 4th in heat 1 in 9:15.19

09:12.10

 

Courtney Wayment

USA

q – time qualifier heat 2 in 9:14.95

09:14.29

NR

Luiza Gega

ALB

Q – 3rd in heat 2 9:14.91

Quick Take: Norah Jeruto is an even heavier favorite after today

Jeruto, the 2021 Diamond League champion who is undefeated in steeples this year, entered Worlds as the favorite and looked the best of everyone in the prelims today. Of course that is easier when no one else cares about running fast, but let’s look at the facts. Jeruto ran 9:01.54 today. That’s faster than Emma Coburn – a three-time global medalist – has ever run. Unless Jeruto is totally spent from the effort today, it’s hard to see any women even close to her in Wednesday’s final. The only other sub-9:01 woman this year, Bahrain’s Winfred Yavi (8:56 sb), did make the final but was in a battle for the final auto spot in her heat until the finish line.

Quick Take: Olympic Champ Peruth Chemutai surprisingly said she’s not 100% but she’ll do her best in the final.

Last year, the surprise of the event was Peruth Chemutai of Uganda, who stunned the world by winning Olympic gold. Today after only finishing fifth in her heat, she revealed her fitness isn’t the same and she’s not 100% but she’ll do her best in the final. It was a big surprise to hear her say that as last year in her final two steeples before Tokyo she ran 9:22 and 9:33. This year, in her two final prep races she ran much faster – 9:05 and 9:14.

Quick Take: Emma Coburn wanted her heat to be fast and got it but wasn’t up to the task of being top 3

Coburn said she wanted a good hard race today in part because there is plenty of time until the final and in part because she and coach/husband Joe Bosshard have purposely dialed back the workouts this year as she felt like she overcooked things last year. She said everything went according to form save for the fact she thought she’d be better over the last 600.

When we asked her what she thought of Norah Jeruto running 9:01, she said that’s not a big deal for her as she’s an 8:50 woman so it would be like Coburn running 9:10.

We asked her about what it’s like to have to compete against intersex/DSD athletes as the 2nd placer in her heat, Ethiopia’s Werkuha Getachew, is widely viewed as being intersex. Last year, after coming out of nowhere and running the fastest 800 by an Ethiopian woman (1:56) she wasn’t put on the Olympic team and promptly moved up to the steeple this year. Coburn said Getachew is following the rules and Coburn just needs to be better.

Men’s 110 hurdles prelims: Roberts crashes out

There was one major surprise in the men’s 110 hurdles prelims as US champion Daniel Roberts stumbled over hurdle 8 and wound up falling into hurdle nine, ultimately getting DQ’d. Roberts, who ran a season’s best of 13.03 in the USA final, has had a rough go of things in global championships as he false-started in the first round in 2019 in Doha and did not advance to the final from the semis in Tokyo last year.

“For me, it (the hurdles) correlates a lot with life. No matter how well or how good you are doing, there is always going to be obstacles in your way. And no matter how well or good you are doing, you still have to be sure you put in the right effort and focus into getting over them and finishing the race. It’s just part of the game,” said Roberts. “I’m going to do what I have to do get up and do some great things.”

The other big names advanced automatically, with reigning champ Grant Holloway leading all qualifiers at 13.14. World leader Devon Allen only ran 13.47 in his heat but that was still enough to earn the victory. *Results

Men’s 400 hurdles: Warholm returns, breezes through to semis

All eyes were on world record holder Karsten Warholm in today’s first round of the 400 hurdles as he raced for the first time since injuring his hamstring at the Rabat Diamond League on June 5. Warholm ran a controlled 49.34 to win his heat easily, but the real tests are yet to come, with the semis on Sunday and the final Tuesday night. Fellow Tokyo medalists Rai Benjamin and Alison Dos Santos also breezed through as American Khallifah Rosser had the fastest time of the day at 48.62.

Warholm said after the race that he did an all-out test over five hurdles a week ago in Norway’s pre-Worlds base of Berkeley, Calif., and that it went well with no issues. But if he is to win gold in Eugene, he will have to run twice as many against two of the fastest men in history in Benjamin and Dos Santos. And even Warholm doesn’t know how his body will respond to that test. 

We also know this is a risky game,” Warholm said. “It’s full speed. But for now, it feels good. And I enjoyed myself. This is what I love to do so it felt good just being back on the track and I love the energy. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could accomplish something.” *Results

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