The 5,000 meters is a classic distance race. 12 1/2 laps around the 400 meter track, the championship style is a build up over 4 kilometers and a kicking event over the last 1,000 meters. Such was the story with this championship race:
Vivian Cheruiyot, Meseret Defar, Linet Masia, 2011 WC 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net
As she did in the heats, Niiya Hitomi of Japan lead the field through the first kilometer in 3:02.1, a 15:10 pace.
Yelena Zadorozhnaya of Russia took over the pacing chores, leading through 2,000 meters in 6:07.1, a 3:05 kilometer. The pace was slowing down, now to a 15:25 pace. The runners were very close together. Cheruiyot, Kibet, Defar, Ejigu, Masai, Fleshman, Clitheroe were all there.
Vivian Cheruiyot, the 10,00m gold medalist, took over and brought the pace back to 3:03 pace, hitting the 3,000 meters in 9:10.97 and 4,000 meters in 12:13.6.
Vivian Cheruiyot controlled the race, with Meseret Defar, Sentayehu Ejigu, Linet Masai, Sylvia Kibet and Lauren Fleshman, who started to fall off the back.
The race did not quicken until the bell, which was hit in 13:54. At the time, Cheruiyot leading, Defar behind Cheruiyot, Kibet behind Defar, Masia, Ejigu were all there.
The pace quickened at 300 meters to go, when Masai and Ejigu went off the back, and really picked up when Vivian Cheruiyot took off, with Defar and Kibet following.
One wondered when Meseret Defar would try to go by, but, as they got closer and closer to the finish line, it was obvious that Defar would get no closer to Vivian Cheruiyot. Cheruiyot closed in 58.8, and took the gold in 14:55.36, defending her 2009 titles.
Defar started to fall apart with 30 meters to go, and Sylvia Kibet went by, equaling her silver medal from 2009, finishing in 14:56.21. In third, Meseret Defar of Ethiopia ran 14:56.94.
Sentayehu Ejigu of Ethiopia was fourth in 14:59.99. Mercy Cherono of Kenya was fifth in 15:00.23. In sixth, Linet Masai, who took the bronze in the 10,000m, ran 15:01.01. In seventh, Lauren Fleshman of the US, who was 8th in the US champs in June, ran 15:09.25, with Genzeba Dibaba, who was passed by Fleshman just before the finish, in 15:09.35.
Helen Clitheroe of Great Britain was 12th in 15:21.22 and Amy Hastings of the US was 15th in 15:56.06.
Amy Hastings, 2011 WC 5,000m, photo by PhotoRun.net
Kebet, Cheruiyot, Defar, 2011 WC 5,000m (silver, gold, bronze), photo by PhotoRun.net
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