Hagos Gebrhiwet Runs 12:36.72 to Win Epic 5000m in Oslo & Move to #2 All-Time

Yomif Kejelcha was 2nd in 12:38.95 as two men broke 12:40 in the same race for the first time ever

Hagos Gebrhiwet ran 12:36.73 on Thursday evening at the Bislett Games in Oslo to win an incredible 5,000-meter race and give Joshua Cheptegei’s 12:35.36 world record a scare. Gebrhiwet’s time – which included a 3:55 final 1600 and a 54.99 last lap – was the second-fastest ever run and broke Kenenisa Bekele’s Ethiopian record of 12:37.35, a mark that had stood as the world record for 16 years until Cheptegei broke it in 2020.

Gebrhiwet had to run fast as the performances behind him were spectacular. Yomif Kejelcha, who pushed the pace throughout the final mile, was second in 12:38.95, moving to #4 on the all-time list – and marking the first time two men had broken 12:40 in the same race. World Cross Country champion Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda was 3rd in a pb of 12:40.96, after which there was a big gap to Spain’s Thierry Ndikumwenayo in 4th (12:48.10). 

In all, 12 of the top 13 men set personal bests, including national records for Ethiopia (Gebrhiwet), Guatemala (Luis Grijalva, 12:50.58), Switzerland (Dominic Lobalu, 12:50.90), Sweden (Andreas Almgren, 12:50.94), France (Jimmy Gressier, 12:54.97), and South Africa (Adriaan Wildschutt, 12:56.67). One of the few men not to PR was the world record holder Cheptegei, who faded over the final laps and was only 9th in 12:51.94.

Overall, the top 13 men broke 13:00, tying the record for most in a single race set in Florence last year.

The race

Gebrhiwet missed the world record by just over a second

Conditions were near-perfect for running fast in Oslo on Thursday (61 degrees, cloudy, 3 mph wind) and the field was prepared to run fast, with the Wavelight set to the 12:41.73 meet record set in last year’s incredible duel between Kejelcha and Kiplimo. By the end of the night, both of those men would run personal bests yet neither would taste victory.

The lights were intentionally set to go faster toward the end of the race, which meant the leaders passed 1600 in 4:05 and 3000m in 7:41.05 (12:48 pace). At that point, Kejelcha, who had been on pacer Addisu Yihune’s heels throughout, was getting anxious and with a mile to go, he passed Yihune (who would stay in the race and run 12:49) for the lead after a 60.32 last lap.

From there, Kejelcha did everything he could to drop the field, going 60.21-60.53-59.62 for his next three laps. He was successful in shaking everyone save Gebrhiwet and Kiplimo, and while Kiplimo was starting to hurt, Gebrhiwet still had a few extra gears, seizing the lead at the bell and quickly gapping Kejelcha. Gebrhiwet ripped a 54.99 final 400m – astoundingly quick given how fast he had already been running – to close out an absurd 4:55.67 final 2k leader-to-leader (in reality, Gebrhiwet ran slightly faster as he was only 3rd with 2k to go). For context, when Cheptegei set his world record four years ago, his last lap was only 59.64.

Race video (Can’t see the video, get the VPN we use here)


1. Hagos GEBRHIWET 11 MAY 1994 ETH 12:36.73 NR
2. Yomif KEJELCHA 01 AUG 1997 ETH 12:38.95
3. Jacob KIPLIMO 14 NOV 2000 UGA 12:40.96
4. Thierry NDIKUMWENAYO 26 MAR 1997 ESP 12:48.10
5. Addisu YIHUNE 17 MAR 2003 ETH 12:49.65
6. Luis GRIJALVA 10 APR 1999 GUA 12:50.58 NR
7. Dominic Lokinyomo LOBALU 16 AUG 1998 SUI 12:50.90 NR
8. Andreas ALMGREN 12 JUN 1995 SWE 12:50.94 NR
9. Joshua CHEPTEGEI 12 SEP 1996 UGA 12:51.94
10. Oscar CHELIMO 12 DEC 2001 UGA 12:54.59
11. Jimmy GRESSIER 04 MAY 1997 FRA 12:54.97 NR
12. Samuel TEFERA 23 OCT 1999 ETH 12:55.78
13. Adriaan WILDSCHUTT 03 MAY 1998 RSA 12:56.67 NR
14. Telahun Haile BEKELE 13 MAY 1999 ETH 13:08.80
15. Stanley Waithaka MBURU 09 APR 2000 KEN 13:18.67
16. Ferdinand Kvan EDMAN 12 FEB 1993 NOR 13:23.66
17. Per SVELA 19 MAR 1992 NOR 13:25.70
18. Brian FAY 09 NOV 1998 IRL 13:30.45
19. Awet Nftalem KIBRAB 09 MAY 1995 NOR 13:44.52
Callum DAVIES 18 JUL 1999 AUS DNF

Quick Take: Hagos Gebrhiwet is still PRing in his 30s

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Hagos Gebrhiwet burst onto the scene in 2012 when he won the Shanghai Diamond League one week after his 18th birthday. He then broke 13:00 for the first time in Oslo on June 7 and later that summer was part of the famous Paris race, where six men broke 12:50. Gebrhiwet ran a world U20 record of 12:47.53 to finish 2nd in that race, beating the likes of Kenenisa Bekele and Eliud Kipchoge in the process. Twelve years later, a 30-year-old Gebrhiwet is still winning Diamond Leagues and running super fast. That’s some impressive longevity.

Gebrhiwet medalled in the 5,000 in 2013, 2015, and 2016 but was somewhat forgotten after COVID. He only raced once in 2020, three times in 2021, and not at all in 2022, though it’s worth noting two of his races in 2021 were a 12:49 5k in Florence and a 26:57 10k at the Ethiopian Olympic trials (which got him 4th). The longtime adidas man returned last year with a new sponsor, Nike, and won Monaco in 12:42 and was 6th at Worlds. Now Gebrhiwet is with Asics and is running faster than ever — even taking technological adjustments into account, 12:36 in super shoes is probably a little better than 12:47 without them.

Let’s give props as well to Kenenisa Bekele. His once world record of 12:37.35 lasted one day short of 20 years as the Ethiopian record — he set it on May 31, 2004, in Hengelo.

Quick Take: Take a bow, Yomif Kejelcha

Kejelcha is to the 5000 what Jakob Ingebrigtsen is to the 1,500 — he loves to push the pace in Diamond Leagues and everyone benefits with fast times as a result. You are not going to get a better opportunity to run fast than great weather and a sub-12:40 breaking the wind for you for 4600 meters. Kejelcha may not have got the win, but he was rewarded with a nice pb and is now ahead of legends like Haile Gebrselassie and Daniel Komen on the all-time list.

All-time men’s 5,000m list
1. 12:35.36 Joshua Cheptegei, Uganda               2020 Monaco
2. 12:36.73 Hagos Gebrhiwet, Ethiopia   2024 Oslo
3. 12:37.35 Kenenisa Bekele, Ethiopia                2004 Hengelo
4. 12:38.95 Yomif Kejelcha, Ethiopia      2024 Oslo
5. 12:39.36 Haile Gebrselassie, Ethiopia           1998 Helsinki
6. 12:39.74 Daniel Komen, Kenya                       1997 Brussels
7. 12:40.45 Berihu Aregawi, Ethiopia                 2023 Lausanne
8. 12:40.96 Jacob Kiplimo, Uganda         2024 Oslo

This was a great run for Kejelcha, but the question now is whether he can translate that fitness into an Olympic medal. Kejelcha has been winning races and running fast on the circuit for years, but has just one medal at the global outdoor championships (a silver in the 10,000 in 2019 when he was coached by Alberto Salazar). Last year, he was 2nd in Florence, 1st in Oslo, 1st in Zurich, and 2nd in the Diamond League final yet was only 5th at Worlds in the 5,000.

Quick Take: It’s crazy how fast this race was considering who wasn’t here

Normally you’d assume a race this deep and fast would include all of the best guys in the world, but many of them were not here. Jacob Kiplimo ran 12:40 tonight yet two of the guys who beat him in Los Angeles two weeks ago — Selemon Barega and Berihu Aregawi — were not in this race. Neither was Grant Fisher, or the man who has won the last two global 5,000 titles, Jakob Ingebrigtsen (who won the 1500 instead).

Ingebrigtsen is essentially unbeatable in tactical 5,000m races, but should he be worried after tonight’s results? Perhaps a little by Gebrhiwet — closing a 12:36 race with a 54-second last lap is some sick stuff, and he does have multiple medals in the past (though he was only 6th at Worlds last year). But Ingebrigtsen is still the favorite for Olympic 5,000m gold. There is always talk about athletes teaming up to try to force a fast pace against the kickers, but it never really happened against Mo Farah and won’t happen against Ingebrigtsen in Paris either. There is no way the winning time in the Olympic 5,000m final is going to be in the 12:30s, and the slower the winning time, the more it favors the Olympic 1500 champion Ingebrigtsen.

For the record, when Ingebrigtsen won a 13:11 race in Worlds last year in 86-degree temps, he ran 52.45 for his final lap. In 2022, he won a 13:09 race with a 53.93 final lap (1:52.78 final 800).

Quick Take: This was not a great result for Joshua Cheptegei, but don’t write him off yet

While Jacob Kiplimo ran much faster tonight than in LA two weeks ago (12:40 versus 12:52), Cheptegei ran basically the same time (12:51 versus 12:52) and finished way down the field in 9th. It’s not encouraging to get beaten by 13 seconds, particularly after Cheptegei was only 6th at World XC in March, and his gold-medal chances are not as strong as in previous years. But you’d be foolish to write off Cheptegei completely.

Consider that in 2021, Cheptegei was 6th in the Florence 5,000 in June and wound up winning Olympic gold in that event in August. Last year he was 4th in Florence and won his third straight 10,000 gold at Worlds two months later. Cheptegei knows how to peak for the championships. The question is whether his peak is still good enough to win gold in 2024.

Discuss this race and the Oslo meet on the LetsRun.com fan form/messageboard

MB: Official 2024 Oslo Diamond League Discussion Thread
MB: 30 year old Hagos MF Gebrhiwet runs 12:36 5000m, #2 all time

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