Winny Chebet and Hellen Obiri, 5000m, 2020 Monaco DL, photo by Etienne Fiacre
The photo above was shot at the 2020 Monaco DL on August 14. It was labeled “Hellen, joie”, aka, Hellen, Joy. And that sums it all up, the need that Monaco answered, the amazing competitions and the constant reminder that a pandemic has changed our lives, but that running, jumping and throwing can bring such simple and complete joy.
There has been little to talk about in athletics in the last few months, but after the exciting diamond league event that happened in Monaco the social media is now trending with moments out of the event; from the Lyles brothers, to the track spikes, to Joshua Cheptegei’s world record, among other topics. All that happened at the stadium are enough to be talked about for the better part of the rest of the year. It was one unique and successful event that saw every winner in all the track events, except for the women’s 100m, being rewarded with a world-leading time.
The men’s 5000m world record that was set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2004 and which had seemed impossible to be broken again just got smashed. Joshua Cheptegei ran a fantastic and smooth race to set a new world record of 12:35.36. His pace setters did a good job in the first 2500m before Cheptegei took to the front briefly tailed by Kenya’s Mathew Kimeli as they approached the 3000m point slightly behind the world record pace. Cheptegei then increased the pace slightly and was in no time running alone and ahead of Kimeli and the world record as he maintained a steady pace up to the finish line. Kimeli’s efforts to go with Cheptegei were rewarded with a personal best time of 12:51.78.
Timothy Cheruiyot had to dig deeper into his energy reserves to hold off Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the last 100m of the men’s 1500m race. Cheruiyot recorded 3:28.45 against Ingebrigtsen’s 3:28.68.
Perhaps the fact that the runners had no idea on the level of fitness of their competitors made the women’s 5000m race a bit slow in the middle. But towards the end, four runners that included Hellen Obiri, Letesenbet Gidey, Laura Weightman, and Siffan Hassan gradually separated themselves from the rest of the field as the pace got faster and faster. Gidey was controlling much of the last laps at the front while Hassan seemed to be struggling to keep up with the pack. Hassan suddenly stopped with about two laps to go.
Gidey, Weightman, Hassan, 5000m, 2020 Monaco DL, photo by Etienne Fiacre
Hellen Obiri took to the front and Gidey went with her as Weightman began to lose ground on them. The battle was between the two. Gidey moved to the front again in an effort to break away, but Obiri stuck behind her. With about 300m to go, Obiri dashed past Gidey and sprinted for the finish line without looking back. She won the race in a new meeting record of 14:22.12. Gidey was second in 14:26.57, while Weightman came third in 14:35.44.
Faith Kipyegon dominated the women’s 1000m race winning it in a new national record of 2:29.15. Lauri Muir and Ciara Mageean followed in 2:30.82 and 2:31.06 to register their respective new national record times as well!
Donavan Brazier looked comfortable in the men’s 800m, winning it in 1:43.15 ahead of his countryman Bryce Hoppel who came second in a personal best time of 1:43.23. Canada’s Marco Arop took third in 1:44.14, also in a personal best time.
Sofiane El Bakkali ran down Kenya’s Leonard Bett to win the men’s 3000m steeplechase race in a comfortable margin of 8:08.04 against Bett’s 8:08.78.