The rivalry between Joshua Chepteigei and Rhonex Kipruto on the road has culminated in world records. When Rhonex ran twice sub 27 minutes in 10km and came close to the world record of 26:44 that was held by Leonard Komon, it gave Chepteigei an impetus that indeed 10km world record was extricable, and true to his dream he attempted it on 1st December 2019 in Valencia which he successfully lowered it to 26:38. The record provoked Rhonex since he considered himself the king of the road due to his winning streaks in 10km. Six weeks later, Rhonex beats 5k world record en route to the 10km world record where he clocked a massive 13:18 and 26:24 respectively to shatter cheptegei mark in 10km. He rendered him devoid of any world record. Yet again Chepteigei saw the opportunity to obliterate the 5km world record and to answer his rival that indeed he was still a force to reckon with; he ran scintillating 12:51 world record on the road a month later.
It's worth noting that the 5km world record of 12:51 on the road motivated Joshua Cheptegei to chase the 5000m world record on the track, athletics pundits believed that such an incredible time on the road will translate to a world record on the track and sure enough, he didn't disappoint in Monaco diamond league, challenges due to COVID-19 pandemic notwithstanding. Several other athletes performed tremendously well on their disciplines but it was Joshua Cheptegei who was on the top of the spear.
Chepteigei obliterated the 5000m world record that had stood for 16 -years, that was held by Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia; lowering it from 13:37.35 to 13:35.36. Nonetheless, he credited Bekele for his outstanding performance on the track, which motivated him to start running. Nicholas Kimeli of Kenya ran his personal best by clocking 12:51.78 to take the second position while Jacob Krop finished third posting 13:11.32. While leading the children of Israel to the promised land, God told Joshua, ''Be strong and courageous,'' Chepteigei seem to have received the commands as well, you could tell this the way he unleashed his felocity in every lap.
Back in Bekoji Ethiopia where Kenenisa Bekele hails from, it was not good news as the word went around that the 5000m record has been snatched. However, in Kapchorwa Uganda, it was boisterous cheers and jubilation after a successful raid by their son. Not even the president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni was left behind, he seemed to have been following the race,'' you have brought honour pride and joy to your country'', he wrote on his Facebook page.
The rivalry of the duo will soon extend to 10,000m. Had it not been for the covid19 pandemic, who knows we could be having world record in the longest distance on track. Rhonex Kipruto was set to attack in June this year, in Hengelo -Netherlands. But it will not be a walk in the park, Ethiopian athletes will not sit and watch as others invade their gallery of world records.