Robert Keter’s world 5km record of 13:22 has been ratified.
Keter, who was something of an unknown when he lined up for the Urban Trail Lille 5km on 9 November, upstaged a quality field to take seven seconds off the previous world record.
Keter made his way to the front before the second pacemaker dropped out, but three fellow Kenyans – Stanley Waithaka, Davis Kiplangat and Gilbert Kwemoi – were all close behind. Those four men began to pull away from the other athletes in the lead pack with less than a mile left to run.
There was a relatively tight turn at 4km as they looped back on to the Boulevard de la Liberte, but Keter got there first and started to increase the pace for the final kilometre. He continued to pull away from his three compatriots and they were unable to match Keter’s finishing pace.
Keter turned into the Place de la Republique with a clear lead and crossed the finish line in 13:22, breaking the previous world record set by Switzerland’s Julien Wanders in Monaco on 17 February 2019.
The 5km road distance was introduced as an official world record event in November 2017, with the inaugural record to be recognised after 1 January 2018 if the performances were equal to or better than 13:10 for men and 14:45 for women.
If no such performances were achieved in 2018, the best performances of 2018 (13:30 by Bernard Kibet and 14:48 by Caroline Kipkurui) would be recognised on 1 January 2019. Seven weeks into 2019, Wanders and Sifan Hassan bettered those marks in Monaco by clocking 13:29 and 14:44.
Several athletes, however, have gone quicker than Keter’s 13:22 before the 5km became an official world record event. The fastest time ever recorded for the distance remains Sammy Kipketer’s 13:00 clocking in Carlsbad in 2000.