MADRID – Joshua Cheptegei – the world record holder of the 5,000 and 10,000 metres in the open air, prevailed in International of San Silvestre Vallecana with a time of 27:09, ahead of Murcia by ten seconds at the finish line Mohamed Katir, who held the pace set by the Ugandan until kilometre seven and never revalidated last year’s victory.
Cheptegei, 26, arrived in Madrid after overcoming an injury that prevented him from competing this year but he had not given up in trying to break the trials record, held by his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo, who in 2018, with a time of 26:41, breaking the previous record (26:54), held by dand Eliud Kipchoge since 2006.
The Ugandan athlete, double world champion in 10,000 metres and Olympic gold in Tokyo in 5,000, also had a goal in Vallecas to achieve the best ever mark in the 10km, currently held by the Kenyan Rhonex Kipruto, who ran 26:24 in Valencia in 2020.
He was unable to achieve either of these two goals but he fulfilled his favouritism to impose himself with solvency on Vallecas Stadium after a career he controlled from the start.
The first kilometres were a trial and error by all the athletes until the race managed to make its natural choice with the three runners who proved to be stronger than the rest.
The step to 5,000 did it in 13:17 only three runners, Cheptegey, Katir and the man from Madrid Jesus Ramos past that equator began to fall from the head.
Katir and Cheptegei duel
From that point the rivalry between Katir and Cheptegei began, although it only lasted two kilometres, the time it took the Ugandan to change course and start to open the gap to the Spaniard.
The last few metres were well controlled by Cheptegei, who entered the Vallecas Stadium alone, receiving a standing ovation from the large audience that cheered him on as he crossed the finish line. Upon his arrival he melted into a hug from Antonio Sabugueiro – the founder of the breed in 1964.
The Spanish navy completed a great participation in San Silvestre with Sergio Paniagua (4th), Aaron De las Heras (5th), Carlos Mayo (6th), Ignacio Fontes (7th), Carlos Díaz (8th), Nassim Hassaous (9th) and Juan Antonio ‘Chiki’ Pérez (10th).
In the female category, the winner was the Ugandan girl, Prisca Chesang who, at 19 years, showed her talent on the asphalt of Madrid to win with a superior time of 30:19.
The Burundian finished second Francine Niyonsaba, fifth in the 10,000 metres of the Tokyo Olympics, registering 30:58, and finished third, Kenyan Beatrice Chepkoech, world champion in the 3,000 obstacles, stopping the clock at 31:06.
The first Spanish was Naima Ait Alibou, who finished fifth with 32:36.