Ethiopia’s Muktar Edris, the man who two years ago shocked the world by knocking off Mo Farah to capture the men’s 5000-meter world title, has done it again.
Edris came into the 2019 IAAF Worlds Athletics Championships as a 15/2 underdog, having done nothing this year (his SB was just 13:29), but he will leave it once again with a gold medal hanging around his neck as he used a 55.07 final lap to close out a 3:59.63 final 1600 (64.62, 60.84, 58.99, 55.07) and come from behind to win gold in 12:58.85.
Edris’ compatriot Selemon Barega, who ran 12:43 last year, nabbed silver in 12:59.70. Moh Ahmed of the Bowerman Track Club made history for in third (13:01.11), earning Canada’s first-ever world or Olympic medal in an event longer than 1500 meters, after a confident run that saw him lead from 3800 until just after the bell.
Norway’s teen sensation Jakob Ingebrigtsen, 19, the youngest sub-4 miler in history and betting favorite, ended up fifth in 13:02.29 after putting forth his best impersonation of Steve Prefontaine at the 1972 Olympics. Ingebrigtsen boldly ran for gold taking the lead with just less than 300 meters to go before totally running out of gas in the last 100, which he covered in just 17.17 seconds.
Two of Ingebrigtsen’s older brothers were also in the race. Filip Ingebrigtsen was still with the lead pack with a lap and half to go and actually still ahead of the race winner Edris when he raised the white flag and stepped into the infield with 550 meters remaining, saving himself for the 1500 meters, where he won bronze in 2017. Henrik Ingebrigtsen was dropped early in the race and finished 13th in 13:36.25.
American Paul Chelimo, who had medalled as the last two global outdoor championships in the 5000, entered the final lap in 4th but ended up 7th in 13:05.27.
Edris took things out fast and led for most of the first two laps, running the first 200 in a 29.9 and 400 in 61.52. However, the paced slowed on the second lap as eventual 4th placer, Telahun Bekele, the 2019 world leader in the event, hit 800 in 2:07.41. Bekele kept the lead until almost 1600 (4:13.14) when Barega took over and re-injected some real pace, running his next 400 in (61.50) to hit 2k in 5:14.81 after the opening kilometer was run in 2:39.07 (2:35.74 2nd km). The reinjection of pace splintered the lead pack, but Jakob and Filip Ingebrigtsen hung back and bet that things would slow down. They were proven correct as they caught back up with the lead pack around 2700 meters as 3k was reached 7:53.04 (2:38.23).
With the leaders running laps in just the 65-second range, the Ingebrigtsens kept running consistently and at 3200 meters (8:25.80), they found themselves just off of leader Chelimo’s shoulder. With the 3 laps remaining, the Canadian Ahmed decided he better do something about the pace rather than turn it into a kick with two 3:30 1500 runners. He went to the lead and ran a 60.71 lap. Heading into the final 600, the lead pack still consisted of 10, but not for much longer. As they rounded the third-to-last turn, a pack of four men — Ahmed, Jakob Ingebrigtsen, Chelimo and Barega — gapped the rest of the field as Filip stepped into the infield and Bekele and Edris tried to stay in contact.
Here is how things looked with just over 500 meters left :
Jakob Ingebrigtsen took the lead coming of the penultimate turn and opened up a few meters on his pursuers. Entering the final 200, Ingebrigtsens’ gap was gone as Barega and Edris were running single-file behind him in second and third. Coming off the final turn, they moved wide and showed they still had something left in the tank as Ingebrigtsen ran out of gas. Barega led for the first 30 meters of the final straight but in the end Edris got the win thanks to a 27.29 final 200.
Behind them, Ahmed measured out the last lap very well (28.83, 29.17), avoiding the big blow up that would befell the others battling for gold, to get the bronze. Jakob Ingebrigtsen ran his last lap in 59.70 but he did that by going 27.88, 31.82. At the finish line, he dove/fell over the line to barely hold on to 5th.