By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
BUDAPEST (23-Aug) — The women’s 5000m heats at the World Track and Field Championships, which were moved from the late morning to the early evening on Day 5 because of the heat, resulted in most of the medal contenders advancing to the final. Two of the biggest athletes, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan and Kenyan Faith Kipyegon, finished one-two in the second of two heats.
Behind Hassan’s relentless pace at the front, the pair ran 14:32.29 and 14:32.31, respectively. Hassan, who usually likes to run at the back, said that she felt like making it a fast race today.
“I want to see what my body felt, and I think I am just addicted to pain,” Hassan told reporters with a laugh. She added: “I said, let me make it some hard race.”
The first heat was nearly stolen by Latvian teenager Agate Caune, the 2023 European U20 3000m and 5000m champion. Doing as her coach had instructed, the 19 year-old ran level laps to try to run in the 15-minute range.
The main pack ignored her, and she built up a lead of about 24 seconds by 3000m (8:54.1). At the bell, she was still about seven seconds ahead and although she was passed by the first three women in the final 100 meters, she wound up fourth in a personal best 15:00.48 and, as a top-8 finisher, advanced to the final.
“We had a plan,” Caune told Race Results Weekly. “From the beginning I understand that this race would be slow, and I can’t run from the beginning slow and then fast. I need to push myself from the beginning.
“I did a great job. Yes, of course, the last hundred meters was hard for me –you see everybody is going (past me)– that’s also when I fight with myself. I did my best.”
Two of the three Americans, Elise Cranny and Alicia Monson, also made the final by finishing fifth and seventh, respectively, in the first heat in 15:01.53 and 15:03.35. Both had raced the 10,000m last Saturday and felt a strong sense of relief after advancing tonight.
“It’s all about getting through to the final,” Monson said. “Like, don’t spend too much time on the prelim. Just make sure you’re getting through. I’m feeling good for Saturday.”