VALENCIA (Reuters) - Less than two months after breaking the 5,000 metres world record, Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei is setting his sights on the 10,000m mark at a special event in Valencia on Wednesday.
Gold medallist in the 10,000 at last year’s World Athletics Championships in Doha, Cheptegei is hoping to beat the 26 minutes, 17.53 set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2005.
Cheptegei, 23, took Ethiopian Bekele’s 5,000m record at the Diamond League in Monaco in August, wiping 1.99 seconds off the 16-year-old mark when he crossed the line in 12:35.36.
His Dutch-based NN Running Team has organised the World Record Day and he will count on pacers who include former Dutch champion Roy Hoornweg as well as Australian Matt Ramsden and Kenyan Nicholas Kipkorir, both world championship finalists in 2019.
Although there will be little support from the largely empty stands, Cheptegei will be helped by Wavelight technology, which flashes lights on the inside of the track to indicate a specific pace.
Cheptegei has already made history over the distance in Valencia, smashing a 10-year 10km world record last December by six seconds, wearing the Nike Zoom Vaporfly shoes which have caused a huge debate in athletics.
“I am very excited to be given the opportunity to target the 10,000m world record,” Cheptegei said last month. “As my performance in Monaco showed, I am in outstanding form, so I would like to make the most of my current shape.
“Kenenisa’s 10,000m world record is one of the toughest in the books, but my training continues to go well and this gives me real confidence I can set another world record.”
Reporting by Richard Martin, editing by Mitch Phillips
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.