Joshua Cheptegei, Letesenbet Gidey break distance-running world records

Joshua Cheptegei, Letesenbet Gidey
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Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei and Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey broke decade-old world records in distance track races, using new light-pacing technology at a special event in Valencia, Spain, on Wednesday.

Full race replays are here.

Cheptegei, the 10,000m world champion, broke his second Kenenisa Bekele world record this season, clocking 26 minutes, 11.00 seconds in the 10,000m. Bekele’s previous world record from 2005 was 26:17.53.

Cheptegei began with three pacers and ran the final 12 laps alone.

“I fulfilled my dream,” said Cheptegei, who was raised at mile-plus-high altitude and credited genes from his father, who grew up on a farm and sprinted after cattle thieves.

Back on Aug. 14, Cheptegei lowered Bekele’s 5000m world record by two seconds to 12:35.36 in Monaco.

Gidey, the world 10,000m silver medalist, took 4.5 seconds off countrywoman Tirunesh Dibaba‘s 12-year-old 5000m world record. She crossed in 14:06.62 after shedding two pacers and covering the last five laps by herself.

“This is a long-time dream,” said the 22-year-old Gidey, who was briefly expelled from school for refusing to run in physical education classes.

Cheptegei and Gidey benefited from lights set up around the track showing them a world-record pace, just as Cheptegei used in Monaco.

Bekele, arguably the greatest runner ever, began 2020 as the fastest in history at 5000m and 10,000m and second-fastest at the marathon.

Now he holds neither world record, a week after withdrawing with a calf injury before the London Marathon, where he was due to challenge 26.2-mile world-record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

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Ironman Kona World Championships return for first time in three years, live on Peacock

Ironman Kona World Championship
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The Ironman Kona World Championships return after a three-year hiatus with a new format, live on Peacock on Thursday and Saturday at 12 p.m. ET.

The Ironman, held annually in Hawaii since 1978, and in Kailua-Kona since 1981, was not held in 2020 or 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The world championships made a one-time-only stop in St. George, Utah, on May 7 to make up for the 2021 cancellation. The winners were Norway’s Kristian Blummenfelt, the Tokyo Olympic triathlon champion, and Swiss Daniela Ryf, who bagged her fifth Ironman world title.

Both are entered in Kailua-Kona, where the races are now split between two days — Thursday for the women and Saturday for the men.

An Ironman includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike and a marathon — totaling 140.6 miles of racing. It takes top triathletes eight hours to complete. Very arguably, it crowns the world’s fittest man and woman.

WATCH LIVE: Ironman Kona, Thursday, 12 p.m. ET — STREAM LINK

Ryf, 35 and a 2008 and 2012 Olympian, can tie retired countrywoman Natascha Badmann for second place on the women’s list at six Ironman world titles. Only Zimbabwean-turned-American Paula Newby-Fraser has more with eight.

The field also includes German Anne Haug, the 2019 Kona champ and only woman other than Ryf to win since 2015. Brit Lucy Charles-Barclay, the Kona runner-up in 2017, 2018 and 2019, returns after missing the St. George event due to a stress fracture in her hip.

Blummenfelt, 28 and in his Kona debut, will try to become the youngest male champion in Kona since German Normann Stadler in 2005. His top challengers include countryman Gustav Iden, the two-time reigning Half Ironman world champion, and German Patrick Lange, the 2017 and 2018 Ironman Kona winner.

Also racing Saturday is Dallas Clark, a retired All-Pro NFL tight end with the Indianapolis Colts, and Tony Kanaan, the 2013 Indy 500 champion who completed the 2011 Kona Ironman in 12 hours, 52 minutes, 40 seconds.

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Joan Benoit Samuelson, Olympic marathon champ in 1984, runs London Marathon at 65

Joan Benoit Samuelson
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Joan Benoit Samuelson, the first Olympic women’s marathon champion in 1984, ran her first 26.2-mile race in three years at Sunday’s London Marathon and won her age group.

Benoit Samuelson, 65, clocked 3 hours, 20 minutes, 20 seconds to top the women’s 65-69 age group by 7 minutes, 52 seconds. She took pleasure in being joined in the race by daughter Abby, who crossed in 2:58:19.

“She may have beaten me with my replacement knee, but everybody said I wouldn’t do it! I will never say never,” Benoit Samuelson said, according to race organizers. “I am a grandmother now to Charlotte, and it’s my goal to run 5K with her.”

LONDON MARATHON: Results

Benoit Samuelson raced the 1987 Boston Marathon while three months pregnant with Abby. Before that, she won the first Olympic women’s marathon at the 1984 Los Angeles Games, plus the Boston Marathon in 1979 and 1983 and the Chicago Marathon in 1985.

Her personal best — 2:21:21 — still holds up. She ranks sixth in U.S. women’s history.

Benoit Samuelson plans to race the Tokyo Marathon to complete her set of doing all six annual World Marathon Majors. The others are Berlin, Boston, Chicago and New York City.

“I’m happy to finish this race and make it to Tokyo, but I did it today on a wing and a prayer,” she said, according to organizers. “I’m blessed to have longevity in this sport. It doesn’t owe me anything, but I feel I owe my sport.”

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