Jacob Kiplimo & Beatrice Chebet Repeat at 2024 World XC as Kenyan Women Go 1-2-3-4-5

On a day with 80+ degree temps, the Kenyan women put on a show. Weini Kelati was top US woman in 15th with Anthony Rotich top US man in 22nd.

BELGRADE, Serbia – The 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships looked a lot like the 2023 World Athletics Cross Country Championships. Just as they did last year in Australia, Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo and Beatrice Chebet pulled away on the final lap to repeat as individual champions in the men’s and women’s senior races. For the second year in a row, a Kenyan man (Samuel Kibathi) and an Ethiopian woman (Marta Alemayo) won the U20 races. All five team gold medals went to the same nations as 2023, with Ethiopia winning the U20 women’s team title and Kenya claiming the other four (men’s and women’s senior, men’s U20, and mixed relay). Mother Nature even borrowed some Australian summer weather as the races were held on an unseasonably hot, sunny day at Friendship Park on the Danube River, with the thermometer cracking 80 degrees Fahrenheit by the time the senior races went off in the afternoon.

BELGRADE, SERBIA – MARCH 30: Beatrice Chebet of Kenya poses with a flag after winnig in the Women’s Senior race during the World Athletics Cross Country Championships Belgrade 2024 on March 30, 2024 in Belgrade, Serbia.
(Photo by © Adam Nurkiewicz for World Athletics)

The most notable difference from a year ago in Bathurst was the domination of the Kenyan women, who went 1-2-3-4-5 in the senior race with no other country putting a woman within even 30 seconds of Kenya’s top five. The Kenyan quintet had dropped the rest of the world three laps into the five-lap, 10-kilometer race, and it came down to a sprint finish between Chebet, world road 5k silver medalist Lilian Rengeruk, and two-time Worlds track medalist Margaret Kipkemboi. Chebet (31:05) would break Rengeruk (31:08) and Kipkemboi (31:09) with 200 meters to go to win the title.

Weini Kelati was the top American finisher, holding on for 15th (32:53) after bravely going out with the leaders. Kelati was in 7th entering the final 2k lap but struggled in the warm temps and hot early pace and would finish her day in the medical tent.

The Ethiopia women (41 points) edged Uganda (44) for the silver medal the US women were a well-beaten 4th (113).

*Full Women’s Results

Kiplimo Repeats

Kiplimo ran back the same game plan from his first World XC victory 13 months ago and it worked to perfection. While there were a number of early surges and breakaway attempts today, Kiplimo stayed at home, biding his time and trusting his fitness. He finally moved with just under a mile to go, leaving 12:40 5k man Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia and 2021 world U20 5k champ Benson Kiplangat of Kenya to battle it out for the silver.

Kiplimo won in 28:09 with Aregawi second for the second straight year in 28:12 and Kiplangat third in 28:14. Kiplimo’s Ugandan countryman Joshua Cheptegei, who had finished 1st and 3rd at the last two editions of World XC, was 6th in 28:24 (has his decline begun?) as Anthony Rotich finished as top American in 22nd (29:22).

Kiplimo said today’s title was harder to win than his first in Bathurst and that he is proud to have joined the likes of Paul Tergat and Kenenisa Bekele as repeat champions at World XC.

BELGRADE, SERBIA – MARCH 30: Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda celebrates whilst crossing the finish line to win in the Senior Men’s Final during the World Athletics Cross Country finals Championships at The Park of Friendship on March 30, 2024 in Belgrade, Serbia. (Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images for World Athletics)

“Today, the guys were strong,” Kiplimo said. “This one was hard to me, actually. Even I [was thinking] I was not going to win…I want to be like [the legends]. They have won a lot of races. I’m targeting to be like the greatest all the time.”

The Kenyan men (19 points) won their second straight men’s title over Uganda (30) and Ethiopia (40) as the US men were 7th.

Article continues below player.

*Full Men’s Results

Mixed Relay

In the mixed sex relay, Kenyan dominated as expected while the US went from 3rd to 8th on the anchor leg as Katie Izzo, who broke a bone in her foot at the US XC champs and missed 5 weeks of running, struggled.

In the junior girls race, unheralded Marta Alemayo, a 15-year-old who was 4th at the Ethiopian Trials, won the girls title as Ethiopia swept the medals. In the junior boys race, Samuel Kibathi, who is based in Japan, got the win.

The American junior teams, who both were third last year, were 4th (girls) and 7th (boys) this year.

*Full Results *Post-Race Interviews from Belgrade

Above is our recap of the races, we have our analysis and post-race reaction in a separate article below.

LRC Analysis from Belgrade: 8 Thoughts on World XC: Has the Decline Begun for Cheptegei? American Drought Continues, Kenyan Women Live up to Hype

WA recaps here: *U20 men *U20 women *Relay *Sr. Women *Sr. Men 

Talk about the race on the world-famous LRC messageboard.

Watch our post-race recap show below.

*Jonathan Gault’s reporting came from Belgrade. Robert Johnson covered the event from the US.

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