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Road Mile world records for Hobbs Kessler, Diribe Welteji at Riga 23

Hobbs Kessler set a road mile world record at Riga 23

RIGA (Oct 01) – A seismic shift in road running history was witnessed on Sunday at the inaugural Road Running Championships in Riga, where American Hobbs Kessler and Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji shattered world records in the men’s and women’s mile races, respectively.

Hobbs Kessler’s Milestone Moment

Hobbs Kessler, the 20-year-old American middle-distance runner, clocked a staggering 3:56.13 in the men’s mile, eclipsing the previous record of 4:01.13 set by fellow American Sam Prakel earlier this year. Prakel also made the podium here today.

Read more: Full Results Report: Men’s Road Mile at World Athletics Event at Riga 23; Hobbs Kessler Set WR

Kessler, who is coached by Ron Warhurst, missed out on a place on Team USA at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, in August, won a very close and frantic battle as the top 11 finishers broke four minutes today.

road mile world record for Hobbs Kessler at Riga 23
Road mile world record for USAs Hobbs Kessler at Riga 23

The USA star finished ahead of Britain’s Callum Elson, who was a surprise silver medalist with a time of 3:56.41, with former world record-holder Prakel 0.02 behind him at 3:56.43 for the bronze.

“I am fit, I wanted nothing but the win, so I went for it,” said a jubilant Kessler. He further added, “The road mile is a very American event. Sam and I have run it multiple times this year, and I couldn’t be prouder of both of us.”

Also noted: “I just bought a house two weeks ago, so now I have some money for furniture, I guess.”

Diribe Welteji’s Historic Feat

In the women’s category, Ethiopia’s Diribe Welteji crossed the finish line at 4:20.98, breaking the previous world record of 4:27.97 held by Nikki Hiltz of the United States.

Read more: Kenya’s Beatrice Chebet wins world 5km title at Riga 23

Welteji, the world 1500m silver medalist at Budapest 23, outpaced the early leader and previously undefeated Faith Kipyegon, the Kenyan two-time Olympic gold medalist, in a thrilling finish.

Diribe Welteji breaks road mile world record at Riga 23
Diribe Welteji breaks road mile world record at Riga 23

“I came here to win, to write history, and to inspire the next generation of athletes,” Welteji stated. She also revealed her strategy, saying, “When I saw the finish line approaching, I sensed Kipyegon might be fatigued. That’s when I decided to make my move.”

Ethiopia collected a top finish as Freweyni Hailu also passed Kipyegon in the closing stages to secure the silver with a time of 4:23.06, while a tired-looking Kipyegon finished with the bronze in the end with 4:24.13.

World Records Notes

It’s worth noting that the road mile was officially recognized as a world record discipline on September 1, adding gravitas to Sunday’s record-breaking performances.

For context, the outright men’s record for the mile stands at 3:43.13, set by Morocco’s Hicham El Guerrouj in 1999. The women’s record of 4:07.64 was established by Faith Kipyegon earlier this year.

Sunday’s races not only set new benchmarks in road running but also signaled the rising prominence of the discipline on the global athletics stage. With official recognition and new records, the road mile is now clearly a new and exciting distance to watch.
Glen Andrews

Glen Andrews

Glen Andrews is one of World-Track main writers for long distance and marathon running. Andrews, who competed in cross country during his High School and college years finds passion covering these events. He's also run a few marathons in his time, and still hopes to qualify for Boston.View Author posts