Friday saw the return of proper competitive athletics, as we know it, with the Louis II Stadium in Monaco hosting the first full Diamond League meeting of the year.
You might be forgiven for thinking after an enforced elongated break, scuppered training plans and a lot of uncertainty, that the first meet back would be a chance for the athletes to reacclimatise, blow out the cobwebs and just get used to competing with rivals again. Not so. The majority of athletes have used the intervening downtime very wisely indeed and have literally hit the ground running. None more so though than Joshua Cheptegei, with the 23-year-old Ugandan breaking the 5000m world record by running 12:35.36 taking two seconds off the previous record of 12:37.35 set by Kenenisa Bekele in 2004.
Joshua Cheptegei world record
“I think Monaco is a special place and is one of the places where I could break the world record.” Cheptegei said speaking after the event. “It took a lot of mind setting to keep being motivated this year because so many people are staying at home, but you have to stay motivated. I pushed myself, I had the right staff with me, the right coach. I’m also usually based in Europe, but being back in Uganda with my family was actually great. I will for sure celebrate the record when I get home.”
Cheptegei certainly does seem to have a fondness for running in Monaco having set the 5k road record there in February this year.
Laura Muir ran 2:30.82
Intrigue now turns to what might be possible at the 10,000m distance. Cheptegei won the world title in Doha last year running 26:48.36 and, again, Bekele holds the world record of 26:17.53 which he set in 2005, the year after his 5000m record. Elsewhere there was some fantastic racing from the British contingent down on the French Riviera. Laura Muir ran 2:30.82 in the 1,000m and broke the British record set by Dame Kelly Holmes in the process. Muir finished second behind Olympic Champion Faith Kipyegon with the Kenyan running the second fastest time ever in 2:29.15. In the same race Britain’s Jemma Reekie ran a very impressive 2:31.11 PB and finished fourth.
Jake Wightman ran a 3:29.47 PB in the 1500m and finished 3rd behind world champion Timothy Cheruiyot in 1st and european champion Jakob Ingebritsen in 2nd. Wightman’s time moved him up to second in the British all-time records with only Mo Farah having ever gone quicker. In the women’s 5000m Britain’s Laura Weightman also moved up to second in the all-time British records running 14:35.44. She finished 3rd in the race and set a new PB taking 9 seconds off her previous mark