Kipkorir, Waithaka to face fastest rivals in hunt for Riga 5km glory
Kenya's Nicholas Kimeli Kipkorir, Stanley Waithaka, and Cornelius Kemboi will face their fastest rivals during the 5km at the 2023 Riga World Athletics Road Running Championships on October 1, 2023.
Kipkorir is one of the favourites to win the race, given that he is the fourth fastest 5km runner of all time. Kipkorir ran 12:55 in Herzogenaurach in 2022 and finished second in a race won by Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha in 12:53.
In the Riga race, Kipkorir and Kejelcha will face off again. Of the 11 5km performances in history that have been 13 minutes or faster, Aregawi, Kejelcha, and Kipkorir have recorded seven of them: three by Aregawi and two each by Kejelcha and Kipkorir, which underlines the fact that the race is going to be the toughest.
Waithaka, a 2022 world 10,000m silver medallist will also be in contention for the Riga 5km title.
Strong Ethiopian delegation
The Ethiopian unit has Berihu Aregawi, who has the superior road personal best since he broke the world record with his 12:49 run at the Cursa dels Nassos in Barcelona in 2021. The Ethiopian also has the quickest track personal best among the entries: his 12:40.45 from Lausanne in June places him fifth on the world 5000m all-time list.
On the other hand, Kejelcha was just one second off his Ethiopian compatriot’s world 5km record when he clocked 12:50 in Lille in March. On the world 5000m, Kejelcha is just below Aregawi in the all-time list thanks to his Oslo 12:41.73 performance.
Aregawi boasts of some other achievements that include a silver medal in the world cross country, finishing fourth in the world and the Olympic 10,000m finals. His competitor, Kejelcha, a two-time world indoor 3000m gold medallist and world indoor mile record holder, secured 10,000m silver at the Doha 2019 World Championships.
Apart from the Kenyan and Ethiopian delegations, who are reasonably seen as the favourites to clinch top medals, Burundi will be represented by Egide Ntakarutimana, while Spain will have Ouassim Oumaiz represent them.
Ntakarutimana ran 13:03.61 in a 5000m in Vienna in June and will be making his 5km debut. He should be boosted by his improvement of the 10km best to 27:45 in Brasov last year.
Oumaiz is a Spanish record holder; he ran 13:19 in 2020, and apart from his African rivals, he will have to face other notable opponents, including the USA’s 2022 NCAA champion Olin Hacker, Norway's Magnus Tuv Myhre, and Canadian 5km and 10km record-holder Ben Flanagan.
Stewart McSweyn, an Oceanian 3000m record-holder, is in Australia's squad and will hope to improve his 13:53 personal best as he returns to race the distance on the roads for the first time since 2017.