NAIROBI, Kenya, September 10 – World Cross Country bronze medalist Agnes Ngetich admits that setting a world record for the 10km was the last thing on her mind when she lined up at the start line at the Transylvania 10km in Romania on Sunday morning.
The 22-year-old led a 1-2 Kenyan finish, clocking a women-only world record of 29:24 as compatriot Catherine Reline (30:14) and Ugandan Joy Cheptoyek (30:34) finished second and third respectively.
“It is quite a surprise to me…I didn’t expect to break the world record. All I ever wanted was a personal best (PB) of 30:00 or 30:02 but to set a new world record in the women’s 10km was the last thing I expected,” Ngetich said.
Ngetich, who finished sixth in the women’s 10,000m at last month’s World Championships in Budapest, seemed a woman on a mission from the start as she covered the first half of the race in an impressive 14:25.
The time was four seconds faster than the women-only world record for the 5km and served as a precursor of things to come.
Ngetich was relentless, covering 6.5 km in 18:54 and 8.5 km in 24:56 on her way to smashing the previous record of 30:01, which was set by another Kenyan and namesake, Agnes Tirop, at the Roads to Record Adizero 10km race in Herzogenaurach in 2021.
Quizzed on her fast start, Ngetich said she was not worried about the possibility of burning out midway through the race.
“No, I was not worried…When the gun went off, I just decided to run and go for it. I started the season on a perfect note with the World Cross Country Championships (in Bathurst, Australia), so I wanted to close it similarly. I thank God that it unfolded this way,” she said amidst smiles.
In the men’s race, Valencia 10k champion Weldon Langat overcame a slow start to lead a clean Kenyan sweep of the podium places, clocking 27:05 in first place.
Amos Kurgat timed 27:17 in second as 2018 Commonwealth Games 5000m bronze medalist Edward Zakayo finished third in 27:14.
Langat admitted that his body took time to acclimatise to the weather conditions in the Romanian capital albeit he enjoyed the race.
“The race was good but the body did not respond well at the start. When we reached 5km that is when it started to pick up. Running under 27 minutes is a good time,” he said.
Langat added: “In my mind, I was not worried about other competitors catching up to me. I knew what to do at the 8km-mark.”
He further congratulated his fellow countrywoman, Ngetich, for her latest feat, adding that he would have loved to make it a double delight for Kenya by smashing the world record for the men’s race as well.
“It was fantastic from Agnes and for that I say congratulations. When I saw her break the world record, I said to myself to try and do the same in the men’s race but my body was not ready for that today,” Langat explained.