All eyes were on Joshua Cheptegei ahead of Wednesday’s Ostrava Golden Spike meet in the Czech Republic, as the 24-year-old Ugandan was looking to break the 3,000m world record. Cheptegei ended up running to a disappointing finish, falling well short of the record, but the meet was far from uneventful, as several other athletes posted remarkable times. Among these impressive performances were runs from teenaged Brits Max Burgin and Keely Hodgkinson in the men’s and women’s 800m races and an amazing showing from Cheptegei’s compatriot Jacob Kiplimo in the 10,000m.
Cheptegei falls short
Cheptegei had an incredible 2020 season that saw him run three world records (5K, 5,000m and 10,000m) in four races. He had already raced twice in 2021 ahead of Wednesday’s meet, and he was itching to add another record to his resume, so he targeted Kenyan Daniel Komen‘s 3,000m mark of 7:20.67, which has been the time to beat for 24 years.
Before the run, Cheptegei’s agent, Jurrie van der Velden, said that this record could be the toughest one Cheptegei has tried to beat, and after he finished 13 seconds behind Komen’s time on Wednesday, that appears to be true. Cheptegei opened the race on world record pace, and he passed through the first 1,600m in 3:55. He proceeded to slow considerably in the following few laps, though, and crossed the line far off the world record.