RIGA, Latvia – More than 13,000 mass runners and around 350 elite athletes participated in the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, benefiting from pleasant weather. Nail-biting duels, unexpected surprises, and record-setting performances marked the event. Kenya led the medal tally with a count of 5 gold 3 silver and 4 bronze medals, ahead of Ethiopia (2-4-1), the USA (1-0-1), and Great Britain (0-1-1).
World Athletics Road Running Championships Short Reviews by Race: A Breakdown of Events
1-Mile Women: World Record Smashed, Kipyegon Falls to Third
Ethiopians Diribe Welteji and Freweyni Hailu outperformed Faith Kipyegon, who faded to third place. Welteji set a new world record with a time of 4:20.98, ahead of Hailu (4:23.06) and Kipyegon (4:24.13). Maria Perez of Spain was the best European performer, finishing sixth with a time of 4:34.12.
5km Women: Kenyan 1-2, European and National Records Broken
World Cross Country champion Beatrice Chebet sprinted to victory with a time of 14:35, leading a Kenyan 1-2 with Lilian Rengeruk finishing in 14:39 (PB). Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye came in third with 14:40. Italy’s Nadia Battocletti set a national record of 14:45, just one second off the European 5km record in a women’s-only race. Uganda’s Joy Cheptoyek also set a national record of 14:50, finishing sixth.
Half Marathon Women: Kenyan Sweep Led by Jepchirchir
Peres Jepchirchir led a Kenyan sweep with a winning time of 67:25, capturing her third half marathon world title (2016, 2020). Margaret Kipkemboi came in a close second at 67:26, and Catherine Relin rounded off the top three at 67:34. Ethiopia’s Tsigie Gebreselama was the first non-Kenyan in fourth with a time of 67:50. Brit Calli Thackery was the leading non-African, finishing seventh with a personal best of 68:56. Kenya secured the team title with a total time of 3:22:25, beating Ethiopia’s 3:27:55. Great Britain narrowly defeated South Africa for the bronze with times of 3:29:15 and 3:29:26, respectively.
1-Mile Men: World Record and Mass Finish Define the Race
In an astonishing mass finish, 20-year-old Hobbs Kessler set a new world record with a time of 3:56.13, edging out Brit Callum Elson (3:56.41) and former world record-holder Sam Prakel (3:56.43). The fastest European was Mael Gouyette of France with a time of 3:56.57. The top nine finishers all crossed the line within two seconds of the winner.
5km Men: Ethiopian 1-2 Finish, European Records in Sight
Hagos Gebrhiwet led an Ethiopian 1-2, finishing the race in 12:59 ahead of Yomif Kejelcha (13:02). Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir came in third with a time of 13:16. Dawit Seare set an Eritrean national record by finishing fourth in 13:21. Etienne Daguinos of France came in sixth with a personal best of 13:25. Awet Kibrab equaled the Norwegian record with 13:28 in eighth place. Jonas Glans of Sweden set a national record with a 10th-place finish in 13:32.
Half Marathon Men: Last-Kilometer Showdown Decides Winner
Sebastian Sawe snatched victory from Daniel Simiyu in the final kilometer, finishing in 59:10 versus Simiyu’s 59:14. Samwel Mailu clinched bronze with a time of 59:18, rounding off another Kenyan 1-2-3 finish. France’s Jimmy Gressier finished fifth in 59:46, ascending to fifth on the European all-time list. South Africa’s Thabang Mosiako also broke the one-hour barrier, finishing sixth in 59:52. A total of 34 athletes finished within 62 minutes. Kenya won the team gold with a cumulative time of 2:57:43, followed by Ethiopia (2:59:54) and South Africa (3:01:17).