World finalist clocks 14:35.44 to move second behind only Paula Radcliffe on the British all-time list
She might believe that she still has a lot to learn in the event but Laura Weightman showed that her progress is right on track as she ran a 5000m PB of 14:35.44 in Monaco on Friday evening to move to second on the British all-time list behind Paula Radcliffe.
In her first race since the world 5000m final more than 10 months ago, the 29-year-old Morpeth athlete took nine seconds off her previous best, recorded when making her global championships debut over the distance in Qatar.
She moves ahead of five-time Olympian and world 10,000m medallist Jo Pavey on the UK all-time rankings, while Radcliffe’s British record stands at 14:29.11.
In a dramatic race, Kenya’s world champion Hellen Obiri stormed to a world-leading meeting record victory, clocking 14:22.12, while Ethiopia’s world 10,000m silver medallist Letesenbet Gidey was second in 14:26.57.
Australia’s Jessica Hull finished fourth in a national record of 14:43.80, while the USA’s Shannon Rowbury was fifth in 14:45.11, Kenya’s 3000m steeplechase champion Beatrice Chepkoech was sixth in 14:55.01 and Weightman’s fellow British world finalist Eilish McColgan secured seventh in 14:57.37.
Netherlands’ Sifan Hassan, who won gold medals in both the 1500m and 10,000m at the world championships in Doha, dropped out of the race with around 1km to go.
“I’m absolutely delighted with that tonight,” said European and Commonwealth 1500m medallist Weightman.
“In lockdown I got my head down and I worked really hard. I was fortunate enough, being a distance runner, that you don’t require facilities and equipment to train. I could leave my house and go for a run and mentally that’s what got me through the days.
“Tonight it was all about commit, go hard, hope for the best, hang on as long as you can, and I hurt that last kilometre! But I dug in for a PB and I’m delighted to be leaving here with second fastest Briton all-time and a 14:35. I’m over the moon.”
Video via Herculis EBS Meeting
Gidey had been at the front of the field behind the two pacemakers as 1000m was passed in 2:52.55, with Winny Chebet taking the pack through 2000m in 5:46.21.
Weightman then pushed ahead, not wanting the race to slow, before Gidey moved to the fore to lead through 3000m in 8:41.67 and 4000m in 11:34.90 as she was tracked by Obiri, Weightman and Hassan, before she stepped aside.
Obiri and Gidey battled over the final lap but the Kenyan had the stronger kick and after passing her rival on the inside, she surged away for the win.
“Because Kenya was in lockdown, I was not able to train properly so I was not well prepared for this race,” admitted Obiri. “For me, I thought I was in a shape for 14:40 and seeing I did 14:22, I am really happy!
“It’s a golden opportunity to come here and to run a world lead and a meet record.”
Click here for further coverage of the Diamond League action in Monaco, which included a world 5000m record by Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei, and here for an interview with British 1000m record-breaker Laura Muir.
News on Jake Wightman’s 3:29.47 to go second on the UK 1500m all-time list can be found here.