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The World Athletics Road Running Championships took place in Riga over the weekend, with two world records set in the mile distance. The women's world record was set by Ethiopian Diribe Welteji, while the men's title and a new world record were set by American Hobbs Kessler.

"In the summer of 2021, when Riga and the Rimi Riga Marathon team won the right to host the first World Athletics Road Running Championships in a fierce competition with other big cities, our goal was to strengthen Riga's place on the world running map. At the end of the Championships, we can proudly say that by hosting the first World Athletics Road Running Championships, Riga, in the words of Sebastian Ko (President of World Athletics), has made world running history today. Two world records and global media headlines, live global coverage, a never-ending succession of Olympic and world record holders, as well as the widest geographical representation with participants from more than 100 countries, are proof that the first World Championships in Riga, the running capital of the world in 2023, has been a success at the highest level. We are grateful to all private sector partners - Rimi, Wess Toyota, Signet Bank and Mēness Aptieka, the Rimi Riga Marathon team, participating organisations and services, Riga City Council, the Ministry of Education and Science, Mission Latvia and the Latvian Council of Sports Federations, for their selfless involvement in making this unique running festival possible", comments Aigars Nords, Head of the World Championships Organising Team.

The mile podium

The World Athletics Road Running Championships, which gathered more than 13,000 runners from over 100 countries in Riga on 1 October, saw two world records in the mile distance. Ethiopian Diribe Welteji set a world record in the women's competition with a time of 4:20:98, beating the previous world record by almost 7 seconds. Welteji left behind another Ethiopian - Freweyni Hailu, who finished in 4:23.06, and Kenya's Faith Kipyegon, the world record holder for the mile distance, with a time of 4:24.13. The men's competition in the mile was intense and there were many challengers for the title and world record, but only the American Hobbes Kessler, with a new world record of 3:56.13, managed to beat his rivals by 28 hundredths of a second - the second and third-placed Callum Elson of Great Britain with 3:56.41, who also set the British national record, and the first American road mile record holder, Samuel Prakel, with a time of 3:56.43. Second and third place were separated by just 2 hundredths of a second.

The 5 km podium

Kenyan Beatrice Chebet was crowned World 5 km champion with a finish time of 14:35. Second place went to another Kenyan, Lilian Rengeruk, with a result of 14:39, her new personal best. Ethiopian Ejgayehu Taye finished third with her personal season best of 14:40. The men's world title went to Ethiopian Hagos Gebrivets with a finish time of 12:59. Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia came in second with a result of 13:02 and Nicholas Kipkorir of Kenya came in third with 13:16. 

Several national records were also set in the 5 km: five men's and four women's national records. Italy, Uganda, Burundi and Slovenia set new national women's records, while the following countries - Norway, Sweden, Japan, Denmark and Latvia - set new national records for the men. 

Half marathon podium goes to Kenyans

Kenyans occupied the entire podium in both the men's and women's competitions at the World Half Marathon Championships. Kenya also won the overall team title in the Half marathon. Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir won the women's Half marathon in a hard-fought battle and was crowned women's champion with a finish time of 1:07:25, beating second-place holder Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi who finished in 1:07:26. Catherine Amangole of Kenya finished third in 1:07:34.

Sebastian Sawe of Kenya was crowned World Champion in the men's Half marathon with a finish time of 59:10. Second and third place went to his compatriots Daniel Ebenyo, who finished in 59:14, and Samwel Mailu with a time of 59:19.

The Half marathon set one national record for men - Macau.

New Latvian record in 5 km distance

Uģis Jocis set the best Latvian national team record and a new Latvian record in the 5 km with a result of 14:14. Latvian athlete Evelīna Krista Sitņika finished the 5 km with a result of 17:27.

In the mile, Ņikita Bogdanovs finished with a result of 4:18:13, the third best time ever in Latvian history, while in the women's competition, 15-year-old Sibilla Vanadziņa finished with a time of 5:18:28.

The best Latvian runners in the Half marathon were Jānis Višķers with a finish time of 1:06:01 and Jeļena Ābele, who finished in 1:18:13. 

The organisers would like to thank all the services involved for their dedicated commitment to the first World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga.

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