Cheptegei and Gidey smash world track records using controversial spikes

  • Joshua Cheptegei knocks six seconds off men’s 10,000m record
  • Letesenbet Gidey takes four seconds off women’s 5,000m time

Two world records were smashed within an astonishing hour in Spain on Wednesday as Nike’s controversial track spikes again proved a gamechanger for athletics.

The meeting in Valencia had been billed as “World Record Day” by organisers and it quickly lived up to that as the 22-year-old Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey obliterated the women’s 5,000m record held by Tirunesh Dibaba by more than four seconds in running 14min 6.62sec.

Shortly afterwards the 24-year-old Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei added the men’s 10,000m world record to his 5,000m one obtained earlier in the summer with an astonishing display of controlled running. His time of 26min 11sec beat the previous best, set in 2005 by Kenenisa Bekele, by a scarcely believable six seconds.

Both records will inspire controversy and awe given that Gidey and Cheptegui were wearing Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, which contain a carbon plate and a unique foam, and have been billed as the “fastest shoes ever”.

While many in the sport are uncomfortable with the new range of spikes, which also includes the Air Zoom Victory containing a carbon plate – and especially the advantage they appear to give over rivals wearing other brands – they have been approved by World Athletics.

The athletes were also helped by Wavelight technology that uses flashing lights to show the pace needed to break records.

Last month Mo Farah and Sifan Hassan broke the men’s and women’s one-hour records, also using super-fast Nike shoes and Wavelight technology.

Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey with the board showing her 5,000m world record of 14min 6.62sec
Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey ran 14min 6.62sec to set a world record for the women’s 5,000m. Photograph: Manuel Bruque/EPA

Cheptegei, who is scheduled to meet Farah at the Tokyo Olympic Games over 10,000m next summer, was asked if a second world record in two months meant he had achieved greatness. “I think this is just the foundation of what I want to achieve in years to come,” he replied.

Gidey, who ran the same time Emil Zatopek did when setting a men’s Olympic record at the 1952 Games, was equally effusive. “I dreamed of this record for six years, I want to thank Valencia for giving me this chance,” she said. “It’s very nice for Ethiopia. Before it was Tirunesh Dibaba and now it’s me.”

Nike athletes have also dominated marathon running since the company introduced the Vaporflys, which contain a special foam and a carbon plate, in 2016. The company’s new road shoe, the Alphafly, meanwhile, is said to improve running economy by an estimated 5-8%.


Sean Ingle

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Letesenbet Gidey breaks two-day-old 10,000m world record in super spikes
Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia broke the two-day-old 10,000m world record to add to the spate of world best marks being set in the super spikes era

Sean Ingle

08, Jun, 2021 @9:37 PM

Article image
Sebastian Coe shrugs off concerns that Nike track spikes give unfair advantage
The World Athletics president has warned against stifling innovation as concerns have been raised over the slew of recent world records

Sean Ingle

03, Jan, 2021 @10:00 PM

Article image
Karsten Warholm criticises super spikes as threat to track and field ‘credibility’
Olympic 400m hurdle gold medallist Karsten Warholm has slammed Nike’s super spikes for taking ‘credibility away from our sport’

Sean Ingle at the Olympic Stadium

03, Aug, 2021 @10:14 AM

Article image
Tokyo track designer reveals boost from new surface as records fall at Olympics
The new lightning fast Olympic track gives a 1-2% performance advantage to athletes making it the quickest in history, says designer Andrea Vallauri

Sean Ingle in Tokyo

03, Aug, 2021 @11:38 AM

Article image
World Athletics gives seal of approval for controversial Nike Vaporfly shoes
World Athletics has given its seal of approval for the high-tech Nike Vaporfly shoes that have revolutionised athletics but has set limits on future technology

Sean Ingle

31, Jan, 2020 @5:32 PM

Article image
Mo Farah believes Joshua Cheptegei will be his main rival again in 5,000m
Mo Farah is expecting the outstanding young Ugandan Joshua Cheptegei to run him close again in the 5,000m, just as he did in Friday’s 10,000m final

Sean Ingle

08, Aug, 2017 @9:00 PM

Article image
Will erasing world records cure athletics or just bury the past? | Sean Ingle
British athletes Jonathan Edwards and Paula Radcliffe are among those who will have their longstanding world records wiped under new rules but is it just window-dressing?

Sean Ingle

02, May, 2017 @4:57 PM

Article image
Paula Radcliffe and Jonathan Edwards to lose world records after rules tweak
Paula Radcliffe and Jonathan Edwards are set to be stripped of their world and European records under new rules relating to testing

Sean Ingle

01, May, 2017 @4:32 PM

Article image
Mo Farah breaks one-hour world record on 'amazing' return to track
Mo Farah broke a world record for the first time in his career, running 21.33km in 60 minutes to set a one hour mark in Brussels

Sean Ingle

04, Sep, 2020 @9:17 PM

Article image
Mo Farah strongly hints at surprise return to track at world championships
Mo Farah gave his strongest indication yet that he will make a shock return to the track to run in the 10,000m at the world championships in Doha in October

Sean Ingle

08, Mar, 2019 @3:00 PM