In a breathtaking turn of events, the 10,000m world record was shattered by Beatrice Chebet, an athlete who initially had no plans to break it. Clocking in at 28:54.14, Chebet not only set a new world record but also became the first woman to run under 29 minutes on the track. This astonishing feat unfolded on May 25th at the Prefontaine Classic, part of the Wanda Diamond League meeting, held at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.

Chebet’s record-breaking performance eclipsed the previous world record of 29:01.03 set by Letesenbet Gidey in 2021. The Hayward Field crowd was electrified from the start, their enthusiasm palpable as the athletes took to the track.

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Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, finishing second with a time of 29:05.92, became the third-fastest woman in history for the 10,000m. Notably, four women finished the race in under 30 minutes, underscoring the exceptional quality of the competition. This race also served as the selection event for Athletics Kenya’s Paris Olympic team, with Chebet and Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (29:26.89) securing their places.

A Shift in Strategy

Initially, Tsegay had planned to pursue a world record pace but reconsidered due to foot discomfort. However, feeling better on race day, she decided to go for it. Chebet and Tsegay remained close to the pace-setting lights, passing the halfway mark in 14:31.

With three laps remaining, Chebet observed Tsegay falling behind. Sensing an opportunity, she surged ahead. Chebet’s primary goal was to qualify for the Paris Olympics, but the allure of the world record spurred her on.


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 “When Gudaf asked for a world record, I decided to say: ‘Let me try to go for that to see how the body is.’ Because my body was not bad,” explained Chebet, a two-time world cross country champion and reigning world 5km gold medalist. “When I saw Gudaf drop a bit, I said: ‘Let me try to push it to see how it can go.’ When I got to the last two laps, I just got motivated and said, I’m on a world record pace, so let me push the last 400m.”

An Unforgettable Finish

With 800m remaining, Chebet pulled ahead of the pace lights by two strides, igniting the crowd. Crossing the finish line, she collapsed in exhaustion, soon joined by Tsegay, who embraced her as the new world record time flashed on the scoreboard.

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Chebet later returned to the track wearing a ‘Stop Pre’ T-shirt, honoring the legendary Steve Prefontaine, symbolizing the connection to Hayward Field’s rich history. Remarkably, this was only Chebet’s second 10,000m race, adding this world record to her 5km world record of 14:13 set in Barcelona last December.

Sifan Hassan, previously the second-fastest woman in the 10,000m and now fourth, praised Chebet’s achievement. “I knew a woman could run under 29, I’ve known for a long time,” Hassan remarked, expressing confidence that women can eventually run 28:45.

Meanwhile, in the men’s 10,000m trials for Athletics Kenya, Daniel Mateiko emerged victorious with a time of 26:50.81, narrowly defeating Nicholas Kipkorir, who set a personal best of 26:50.94 in a thrilling final lap.

Beatrice Chebet’s unexpected and exhilarating world record run at the Prefontaine Classic exemplifies the unpredictable and thrilling nature of athletics. Her historic achievement not only sets a new standard but also inspires future generations to push beyond their perceived limits and dream bigger.