Hellen Obiri is an amazing athlete. Her run in Rome last night was masterful. A nearly perfect 5,000 meters was run by Hellen Obiri last night. Here is Stuart Weir’s fourth piece from Rome. We hope you enjoy it. I concur with our friend Stu that Hellen is an exceptional athlete. And yes, she has her focus on the London World Champs 5000 meters.
It will be a magnifiscent race.
One of the highlights of the Golden Gala looked to be the women’s 5000 clash between Genzebe Dibaba and Hellen Obiri. Both had outstanding credentials. Dibaba has broken three world records including the 1500 at the 2015 Monaco Diamond League in 3:50:07, one of the most amazing races I have ever been privileged to witness. Dibaba won gold (1500) and bronze (5000) in the 2015 World Championships. Obiri took silver in Rio (5000). Both have won world Indoor gold medals.
In Rome it was Obiri who triumphed. This is not the first time I have written about Hellen Obiri (https://www.runblogrun.com/2017/02/hellen-obiri-deserves-our-admiration-by-j-stuart-weir.html). She is a special athlete.
Obiri won in 14:18.37 with Dibaba sixth in 14:41.55. Obiri set a World Lead and a new Kenyan record and recorded the fifth fastest time ever. Dibaba’s time was 2.5 seconds faster than her bronze medal time in the 2015 World Championships but in Rome it only got her sixth. Obiri was 11 seconds faster than her Rio silver medal winning time. The runners in second, third and fourth all recorded PRs but did not come close to Obiri.
Obiri said afterwards: “When I came to this race, I told myself “nobody can beat me”. I thought that Genzebe would push it forward to go faster but when she did not do that. I tried to push it myself”.
She added: “I think the race was OK [if I had just run the world’s 500th fastest 5k – let alone the fifth fastest, I would think my race was more than “OK”]. I wanted to run something like 14:18. I knew that Genzebe was very strong and my plan was not to go too fast too early. I knew that she would follow the pacemaker. When I made my move I tried to run 64 secs because I thought that that Dibaba would not stay with me and I tried to push. I was comfortable in the race as there was no wind”.
Asked to assess where she is in 5,000 metre running she said she was pleased with silver in Rio, reminding the questioner that Rio had been her first 5,000 metres championship.
Asked if she thought she could break the world record, she said she was not thinking about records. Her main focus was to try to win gold in London 2017.
She added: “I’m working on my speed and my finishing kick”. I totally understand that she feels the need to work on her speed for the 5,000. After all she has only broken two Kenyan records this year and has never run a 1500 faster than 3:57.05!
She said she often “trained with men in Kenya because they push you hard”. Sometimes when she comes in from training her 2 year old daughter, Tanya, looks at her and says: “Mummy you’re tired” because she knows mummy had been running.
Hellen used to train with Vivian Cheruiyot before Vivian switched to Marathons. However, Hellen assured us she had wish to follow her friend’s example and double up. For the moment the 5,000 is her sole focus. And she looks the one to beat in London.
“From the beginning, I was looking to the front. I was thinking about the time around 14:18 and I even think I can improve it at the next competition.”