Joshua Cheptegei Three-Peats as 10,000m World Champion

Joshua Cheptegei is still the king.

The 5,000m and 10,000m world record holder and two-time defending 10,000m world champion took the lead down the homestretch before the bell and survived a challenge from the Olympic champion Selemon Barega on the final turn, powering away to win his third straight world 10,000m title in 27:51.42 on Sunday. Barega ran out of gas over the final meters and let up just before line to let Daniel Ebenyo of Kenya nip him for silver in 27:52.60.

Embed from Getty Images

On a warm evening in Budapest (87 degrees, 52% humidity, with a 67 dew point) the first 5000m was run in a cautious 14:21. American Joe Klecker was the only competitor still in the race dropped from the main pack at that point (Uganda’s Joel Akeyo, who ran solo in the lead for the first 3100, had already dropped out). After 6000m Barega began pushing the pace and lowered the tempo to 66-second laps (they had been running 68-70 right before this). Just before eight laps remained, Berihu Aregawi, the world leader this year at both 5000 (12:40.45) and 10,000 (26:50.66), took the lead and started to push. 

65.36, 64.89, 64.57, 64.72 for a 4:19.54 1600 and 23:45.98 with four laps remaining. The pace slowed the next two laps (66.88, 65.04) ast the pack began to strategize for the final push for home as eight guys were still in contention.

Article continues below player.

The real racing started at this point and coming down the homestretch for the penultimate time Cheptegei seized the lead (60.07). He would never give it up and thanks to a 53.45 final lap get this third straight World Championship title. Barega paid the price right before the finish line of going for gold as he was relegated to bronze. Despite all his work, Aregawi once again left without a medal as he was fourth just like he was at the 2021 Olympics.

You can watch the final 500 below.

(If the video is geoblocked here is the VPN we suggest)

The Americans did not do great in this one as Woody Kincaid was 11th, Sean McGorty 16th, and Joe Klecker 20th, and all were dropped well before the bell.

Analysis below results.

Men’s 10,000m Race Results

1 Joshua Cheptegei UGA 27:51.42 SB
2 Daniel Simiu Ebenyo KEN 27:52.60
3 Selemon Barega ETH 27:52.72
4 Berihu Aregawi ETH 27:55.71
5 Benard Kibet KEN 27:56.27
6 Mohammed Ahmed CAN 27:56.43 SB
7 Rodrigue Kwizera BDI 28:00.29 SB
8 Nicholas Kipkorir KEN 28:03.38
9 Yann Schrub FRA 28:07.42 SB
10 Birhanu Balew BRN 28:08.03 SB
11 William Kincaid USA 28:08.71
12 Yemaneberhan Crippa ITA 28:16.40
13 Isaac Kimeli BEL 28:20.77 SB
14 Adriaan Wildschutt RSA 28:21.40
15 Ren Tazawa JPN 28:25.85
16 Sean McGorty USA 28:27.54
17 Santiago Catrofe URU 28:28.49 NR
18 Zerei Kbrom Mezngi NOR 28:30.76
19 Merhawi Mebrahtu ERI 28:50.62
20 Joe Klecker USA 29:03.41
21 Nils Voigt GER 29:06

After his 3-peat Joshua Cheptegei was pleased to have been in the winner’s circle

Cheptegei was naturally in good spirits after this one and revealed that after last year’s Worlds he picked up an injury that had hampered him. The whole point of the year was to run well tonight and he did.

Kenya’s Daniel Ebenyo had a lot to be proud of

If we didn’t see the race but afterwards someone told us that a Kenyan moving up from the 5000 had won a surprise 10,000 medal, we would have assumed it would have been 12:46 man and Kenyan trials champ Nicholas Kimeli (aka Nicholas Kipkorir), but the 24-year-old Kimeli was only 8th tonight. Instead the medal went to the Kenyan trials runner-up, 27-year-old Daniel Ebenyo, who sports a 12:54 5000 pb. Like Kimeli, Ebenyo was moving up from the 5000 but unlike Kimeli he hadn’t been really competitive in recent years on the global stage, as Ebenyo bombed out of the heats in the 5000 at the Olympics and was only 10th in the 5000 at Worlds last year. Now he’s a silver medallist.

Despite running his best race of the year, Selemon Barega wanted more

After letting up before the line and settling for third, Selemon Barega was not pleased with his result. However, he wouldn’t have been happy to have finished second either even though this was by far his best result of the season as he was only 12th at World XC, 2nd at the Ethiopian trials, 9th in the Florence Diamond League (12:56), and 5th in Lausanne (13:00). He told us his goal was to win and he ran like that the final lap.

The Americans didn’t finish where they wanted 

We interviewed all three Americans at once as the men’s 100 final was starting shortly thereafter. The US champ Woody Kincaid said “it was a boiler out there” but called the race “a good experience. And I think there’s a good chance that (the three of us are) coming back next year.”

McGorty was a little upset with his tactics. Rather than run in the back of the lead pack, he wishes he had run more mid pack as it would have given him more time to try to hang in there when he really started to hurt. 

He also think his place didn’t reflect his fitness gains. “You know, it’s clear, like, Moh (Ahmed, his Bowerman TC teammate who was 6th for Canada) has the strength and fitness and to be able to stay with those guys til a lap to go. And I definitely think I got closer this year. And I don’t think this was necessarily like, indicative of maybe the jump I made in fitness, but definitely a hard learning lesson,” said McGorty.

As for Klecker, he didn’t pull any punches. “I mean, really no excuses. On a day, when I had no excuse not to be my best, I was probably my worst all season,” said Klecker.

Want More? Join The Supporters Club Today
Support independent journalism and get:
  • Exclusive Access to VIP Supporters Club Content
  • Bonus Podcasts Every Friday
  • Free Shirt (Annual Subscribers)
  • Exclusive Discounts
  • Enhanced Message Boards