Joshua Cheptegei wants more

Joshua Cheptegei of Team Uganda celebrates after winning gold in the Men's 10,000m Final on day three of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon. PHOTO/AFP

What you need to know:

  • This year’s men’s 5000m field will be even more loaded.

Doubling up is running both premier long distances – 5,000 and 10,000 metres – at the same event. Very few opt to do it. Achieving it is a different ball game.

Joshua Cheptegei, now a back-to-back 10000m world champion after Sunday’s epic victory in Eugene, will attempt to join an exclusive club of legends this week.

The 5000m heats are on Thursday before the finals on Sunday morning at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Oscar Chelimo and Peter Maru will be the other Ugandans in the race.

Only two runners have achieved to do the ‘distance-double’ at the same World Championships – Britain’s Mo Farah (twice) and Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia.

Several have done it at the Olympics, including that pair Cheptegei has admired all his life. And the 25-year has already taken slices out of their stacked up history.
“Breaking the 5000m and 10000m (records) put me into the class of those I admired over the years,” Cheptegei said.

“No one knows, of course, how much faster one can run. However, I believe I still have room to improve and possibly lower my world records.”

Gold medallist Uganda's Joshua Cheptegei poses on the podium during the medal ceremony for the men's 10,000m during the World Athletics Championships at Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon on July 17, 2022. The 5000m get underway on Thursday and Cheptegei is keen to complete the double. PHOTO/AFP

The Ugandan is the 10th man to hold the 5000m and 10000m world records concurrently, both set in 2020.

In August 2020, at the Monaco Diamond League meet, he set a new 5000m world record of 12:35.36, breaking Bekele’s 16-year-old record of 12:37.35o.

Tough field

This year’s men’s 5000m field will be even more loaded. Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris is the two-time defending world champion.

Another Ethiopian, Selemon Barega, won silver in Doha in 2019, where Canada’s Mohammed Ahmed won bronze. The latter is the silver medallist at last year’s Olympics.

Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir and Jacob Krop have the top two times in the world this year, set on June 9 in Rome, while Berihu Aregawi is third in the world rankings, having run 12:50.05sec.
Yomif Kejelcha, the 2014 World U20 champion, is ranked fourth in the world, and America’s Granter Fisher will be a contender.

There is also Norway’s Jakob Ingebrigtsen, the reigning Olympic gold medalist in the 1500m, who is running both events in Oregon and ran what was then a world-leading time of 13:02.03 in May.

That is the field Cheptegei, who won Olympic gold over the distance last year, must beat to clinch the elusive double.


Cheptegei won Commonwealth double in 2018, setting up his 2019 season that saw him win the 10000m in Doha. He had also won the Diamond League 5000m finale a little over a month earlier.

Gold medalist Joshua Cheptegei of Team Uganda and bronze medalist Jacob Kiplimo of Team Uganda celebrate after the in the Men's 10,000m Final on day three of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 at Hayward Field on July 17, 2022 in Eugene, Oregon.  PHOTO/AFP

That was his breakout year. At the Olympics, Cheptegei further cemented his name by winning the 5000m seven days after finishing second in the 10000m final with Barega winning it. Barega, however, did not double back for the 5000m.

Track distance double winners

World championship 
Mo Farah- Moscow 2013, Beijing 2015
Kenenisa Bekele- Berlin 2009

Mo Farah- London 2012, Brazil 2016
Kenenisa Bekele- Beijing 2008
Miruts Yifter- Moscow 1980
Lasse Virén- Munich 1972, Montreal 1976
Vladimir Kuts- Melbourne ‘56
Emil Zátopek- Helsinki 1952
H. Kolehmainen- Stockholm 1912