Kipyegon takes break for reunion with family after successful season
Double world champion Faith Kipyegon has promised to take a break and come back stronger in 2024 after finishing third at the first World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia, on Sunday.
After her two golds at August’s Budapest World Championships and three world records this year - one of which, the 5000m, has since been eclipsed - Kipyegon was expected to maintain her unbeaten record in 2023. However, Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji, who was second to Kipyegon in the 1500m in Budapest, produced a huge upset after kicking clear in the closing stages to take victory in a new world record of 4:20.98.
Freweyni Hailu (4:23.06) also passed Kipyegon late on to make it an Ethiopian one-two with the Kenyan superstar taking third in 4:24.13.
Kipyegon took to her social media pages to celebrate the season by saying: “After an incredible year with three World Records and two World titles on the track, I’m proud to finish the season with another World Championships medal in my first road race ever. 2023, you were amazing,” adding: “And now… holiday and family time, see you all in 2024.”
Despite Kipyegon missing on gold medal, Kenya topped the medal table as they swept the podiums of both the men’s and women’s half-marathons (thus winning the team gold medals), took gold and silver in the women’s 5-K, and bronze in the men’s 5-K and women’s mile. Peres Jepchirchir won her third world half-marathon title.
Jepchirchir lived up to her billing as a pre-race favorite and scored a solid win in the women’s half-marathon in 1:07:25. As a result the 30-year-old joined athletics legends Paula Radcliffe, Tegla Loroupe, and Lornah Kiplagat as just the fourth woman to win three World Athletics Half-Marathon (or 20-K) titles.
“I feel grateful; I thank my God,” she told reporters after the race, adding: “It means a lot to me. I’m so grateful and I’m so happy. It was my motivation. I told my family, especially my husband, I told him I was going to work extra hard because of him. I tried my best so I can give my gold to him.”