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Fast Women: Diribe Welteji pulls off a big upset
The Twin Cities Marathon is canceled due to heat.
Issue 259, sponsored by New Balance
Diribe Welteji, Beatrice Chebet, and Peres Jepchirchir win World Road Running titles
On Sunday in Riga, Latvia, Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji did what no one else had been able to do this season. She ran away from Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon to win the mile at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships.
Kipyegon had such a dominant season that most of her races became battles for second place. Even when she won by smaller margins, like when she beat Welteji by 0.82 seconds in the 1500m final at the world championships, Kipyegon always looked like she was in control. (Kipyegon was second in her 5,000m prelim at worlds, but the only point of that race was to advance while expending as little energy as possible.)
Kipyegon tried to control the race from the gun, but she was unable to open up a gap on Welteji. Late in the race, it became clear the 21-year-old Welteji was going to be tough to shake. Welteji took the lead for the first time with 25 seconds remaining. Kipyegon fought back, but Welteji made a second move that Kiypegon couldn’t match, and Welteji pulled away to win in a world record of 4:20.98, on a windy day. She broke Nikki Hiltz’s record of 4:27.97 from earlier this year. The one mile road record is a newly-established one, otherwise it would be significantly faster.
Kipyegon, who was apparently getting over a cold, seemed to let up a bit in the closing strides, and Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu sailed by her and took second in 4:23.06. Kipyegon earned bronze in 4:24.13. “It was a very successful season, but unfortunately, I am a little bit tired today,” Kipyegon said after the race. “It feels good to be part of these first World Road Running Championships, so I am glad I did it. This was my first road race, so I did well.” (It’s kind of surprising Kipyegon had never done a road race before.)
Addy Wiley led the U.S. contingent with a ninth-place finish, in 4:36.03, and Helen Schlachtenhaufen finished 17th in 4:40.28.
Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet used a late kick to win the 5K title in 14:35, four seconds ahead of her teammate Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, and Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye earned bronze in 14:40. It’s been a good year for Chebet, who won the World Cross Country Championships in February, earned bronze in the 5,000m at worlds in August, and ran 14:05.92 for 5,000m in September. Weini Kelati ran an aggressive race, sticking with the lead pack through 3K before starting to drop off. She hung on to finish seventh in 15:10. And Fiona O’Keeffe took 11th in 15:40.
The half marathon came down to a sprint finish, too, and Kenyans swept the top three spots. Peres Jepchirchir, who turned 30 four days before the race, gave herself a nice birthday present, winning her third world title in the half marathon, in 1:07:25. Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi finished one second back, and Catherine Reline Amanang’ole earned bronze, in 1:07:34. Molly Grabill had a strong race, leading the U.S. team with a 13th-place finish in 1:09:53. Sarah Pagano (29th, 1:11:37) and Amber Zimmerman (32nd, 1:12:26) were the other U.S. finishers.
While the world half marathon championship has been around for a long time, adding a 5K and mile makes this a new event, and it’s an interesting addition to the calendar. I thought the road miles were particularly fun to watch. While some of the world’s best showed up, most of the fields lacked the depth that a world championship would normally have. And holding the event in October made for a long season for some of the track athletes. I’ll be curious to see if this event really catches on. The next edition will be held in San Diego in 2025. (All results)
Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile canceled due to weather
I thought I’d be using this space to write about some good races at the Twin Cities 10 Mile and Marathon (the elite athletes who were to run are listed here), but early on race morning, both races were canceled due to “black flag” weather conditions. I feel for anyone who put work into the event, either as a participant or event organizer, and I’m sure it was painful to make that call.
But I’m also surprised that the 10-miler was canceled given that the temperature was below 70 degrees at the start, and three hours after the start, well after almost everyone would have finished, the temperature was 72 degrees, with 75% humidity, and a dew point of 64 degrees. (“Feels like” 74 degrees, according to my phone’s weather app.) Those certainly aren’t the conditions most people would choose for race day, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen a race canceled due to heat in conditions like those.
A marathon is a different story, and while long-distance races have certainly been held in worse conditions, I understand not wanting to take the risk, especially for those who were going to be out on the course the longest. Five hours after the scheduled marathon start, the temperature was 83 degrees with 57% humidity, a dew point of 67 degrees (“feels like” 87 degrees).
This article includes the most information I’ve seen about the cancellation so far. In it, race spokesperson Charlie Mahler told CNN, “Overnight, the forecast conditions got even worse, and that’s how we had to make the call in the early hours of the morning.”
Twin Cities was offering a U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials qualifying bonus, and all of the new Trials qualifiers would have split $26,000. It would have been tough to qualify in the warm conditions, but with runners like Makenna Myler and Obsie Birru in the field, it wasn’t out of the question.
And speaking of the Trials, there’s a solid chance that conditions will be worse for the Olympic Trials on February 3 in Orlando, which are to be held at 12:20 p.m. Most of the participants won’t be out on the course as long as the average TCM runner, which is something to take into account, but some of them will be running with a lot on the line.
Thanks to New Balance for supporting Fast Women this month
I always enjoy hearing which New Balance shoes runners use for various types of running. Last week, I told you which shoes Dani Jones uses on recovery runs and which ones she races in. Here’s the rest of the lineup: When Jones does threshold work, road workouts, or “slower stuff” (which would still be super fast stuff for most of us) on the track, she’s likely to be wearing the FuelCell SuperComp Elite v3, which is a popular marathon racing shoe.
She sometimes wears the FuelCell SuperComp Pacer in workouts, too, like if she’s doing 1K reps on the track. And she’ll occasionally throw on the FuelCell SuperComp Trainer v2 for long runs, because Team Boss does their long runs at a pretty quick pace.
Other News and Links
Aliphine Tuliamuk announced her withdrawal from the Chicago Marathon due to a tendon sprain.
Sara Hall was scheduled to run the half marathon at the World Athletics Road Running Championships, but she skipped the race due to pain in her SI joint. It doesn’t sound too serious, though, as she said she’s still planning to run another half marathon later this month.
Professional runner turned pro coach Amy Cragg had a baby last week.
And pro trail and mountain runner Ashley Brasovan announced that she has a baby on the way. “It happened quickly, which I’m so grateful for considering what I have put my body through over the last 32 years,” she wrote. Brasovan has been open about her struggle with an eating disorder, starting at age 12.
Vanessa Fraser has joined Team Boss. She’s the third former member of the Bowerman Track Club, along with Kate Grace and Emily Infeld, to switch to Team Boss.
This is a good article about Morocco’s Fatima Ezzahra Gardadi, who earned a surprise bronze medal in the marathon, at the world championships in August.
Agnes Ngetich’s 29:24 from the TRUNsylvania 10K will not be ratified as the women’s-only world record, because the course was 25m short. Ngetich ran 37 seconds faster than the existing record, and at the rate she was moving, it would have taken her less than five seconds to go 25m more.
Allyson Felix interviewed Britton Wilson for Glamour.
I appreciated this graph comparing the pacing for Tigst Assefa and Brigid Kosgei’s marathon world records. Kosgei went out much faster than Assefa did.
In order to qualify for this year’s Boston Marathon, athletes needed to run at least 5:29 faster than their qualifying time. (Runner’s World) The 26.TRUE Marathon, held the same weekend, in Boston, took the opportunity to point out that their race has no qualifying time, cut off time, or lottery. (It also has no official timing or road closures.)
Great Britain’s Laura Weightman announced her retirement from the sport at age 32. “I’ve had a very challenging few years dealing with a number of injuries, surgery and extensive rehab,” she wrote on Instagram. “Throughout this period I always believed I could return and compete again at the highest level, but my body is saying no.”
The man accused of stalking Emily Infeld has been sentenced to three years of supervised release. “I honestly feel a lot better now that I am living in a different state and that he doesn’t have my new address,” she told ESPN. “I really hope that the supervision along with his medication ensures no one else is harmed or threatened by him.” For background on this case, this article from 2021 tells the story well.
Alberto Salazar’s four-year doping ban is over, but his SafeSport ban is for life. I’m curious if he’s done coaching for good or if he will re-emerge in a coaching role somewhere, because SafeSport’s jurisdiction only goes so far.
Other Race Results
Camille Herron won Spartathlon, a 153-mile race from Athens to Sparta, in 22:35:22. She finished third overall and took just about 2 hours and 13 minutes off Patrycja Bereznowska’s course record. Herron posted her watch data here.
Kellyn Taylor won the San Jose Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in 1:11:40, which qualifies her for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. She’s likely to qualify again at the New York City Marathon next month, but now she has a backup qualifier, just in case. Olivia Pratt finished second in 1:12:05, and Alice Wright took third in 1:13:39.
Mary Munanu won the Portland Half Marathon in 1:13:09. (Results)
Lindsay Piraino won the Wineglass Marathon for the second year in a row, running 2:44:51. (Results)
In college cross country action, Alabama’s Doris Lemngole, an NCAA newcomer, won the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational, running 16:05.9 for 5K. NC State’s Kelsey Chmiel finished second, nine seconds back, and led her team to a 44–53 win over Notre Dame. NC State will only get stronger when Katelyn Tuohy, who hasn’t raced yet this season, rejoins their lineup. (Results)
Maisie Grice, who just transferred from the University of New Mexico to Northern Arizona University, won the Dave Murray Invitational, running 20:32.5 for 6K. She led NAU to an easy win. (Results)
Rachel Tomajczyk won the XTERRA Trail Run World Championship half marathon in 1:50:40, and Caitlin Patterson, an Olympian in cross country skiing, won the marathon in 4:02:41. (Results)
It was good to get a pre-Chicago Marathon update from Sara Vaughn on The Rambling Runner Podcast. Her tuneup race went very well—she ran 1:10:53 at the Fall Equinox Half Marathon in Fort Collins, Colorado. The course is point-to-point and quite downhill, but that’s offset somewhat by the altitude. Vaughn broke her own course record, from a year ago, by 69 seconds.
I enjoyed hearing Deena Kastor’s thoughts on Tigst Assefa’s 2:11:53 marathon world record at the beginning of this episode of Marathon Talk. Kastor pointed out that one reason the marathon record could be stronger than the track records is that women can have male pacers on the roads, unlike the track. I’m kind of curious how fast Faith Kipyegon could go in the 1500m if she had some men to chase.
Additional Episodes: Des Linden and Kara Goucher discussed the Chicago Marathon on Nobody Asked Us | Emily Durgin on Women Run Canada | Tiara Williams, of Real Talk with Tee, on Citius Mag | Grayson Murphy on Femmi Pod | Stanford first-year Amy Bunnage of Australia discussed her NIL deal with On, on the Runner’s Tribe podcast.
The Chicago Marathon is on Sunday and you can see who is running here, though there have been two updates to the field since the initial announcement. There will be a livestream of the race at nbcchicago.com, and you can get more details about the broadcast here. The women’s wheelchair race begins at 7:21 a.m. CT and the runners go off at 7:30. As of now, the weather in the Midwest is looking a lot better for marathoning next weekend than it did this past weekend.