Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships

The Kenyan women dominated with a historic top-five sweep

Last Updated:

This weekend, the world’s best runners gathered in Belgrade, Serbia, for the 2024 World Athletics Cross Country Championships.

With stacked lineups, both the men’s and women’s races had the potential to be a battle for the ages, and they certainly didn’t disappoint.

If you missed catching the action live, here’s what you may have missed at these ultimate showdowns.

Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships 1
Photo Credit: World Athletics

Beatrice Chebet Triumphs Again in Belgrade

It was a dream day for the Kenyan runners in Belgrade, Serbia, for the women’s race of the World Athletics Cross Country Championship.

Beatrice Chebet led the Kenyan women to a historic 1-5 sweep, maintaining her senior women’s world cross-country title along the way. A top-five sweep is a feat that has not been witnessed since the Kampala edition in 2017, when Kenya secured the top six positions in the senior women’s race.

Chebet’s remarkable win also makes her the first senior female athlete to achieve back-to-back triumphs since Tirunesh Dibaba did in 2006.

Facing a strong field of fellow Kenyan athletes, 24-year-old Chebet showed tactical awareness beyond her years. She broke away from compatriot Lilian Kasait Rengeruk just 400 meters from the finish line, ultimately crossing it in an impressive time of 31:05. 

Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships 2

Rengeruk secured the silver just behind Chebet, clocking in at 31:08, while Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi secured the bronze with a time of 31:09.

Reflecting on her outstanding performance, Chebet attributed her success to the favorable weather conditions akin to those in Kenya and the strong teamwork that prevailed among the Kenyan contingent.

“We won the team title, that showed very strong teamwork,” said Chebet. “After trials we trained together, we eat the same food. We were a team and being together helped us achieve the best result here.” 

Acknowledging the pressure that comes with defending a world championship title, Chebet expressed her satisfaction with securing a podium finish. She noted her surge in strength towards the final stretch of the race, emphasizing the conducive course conditions and favorable weather that resembled those of Kenya.

Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships 3

“It is not easy to come to a world championship and defend your title, there is a lot of pressure. My target was to be on the podium. I felt I was stronger with about 500m to go. The course was so good, the weather was good like in Kenya, very sunny, and the obstacles were not as hard.”

From the onset of the 10km senior women’s race, it was evident that the talented Kenyan team, comprised of Agnes Ngetich, Emmaculate Anyango Achol, Chebet, Rengeruk, and Kipkemboi, would be the frontrunners. 

The Kenyan dictated the pace for the rest of the field and completed the first lap in 6:30.

Their momentum only increased in the second lap, covered in 5:56, as they continued to run in unison, accompanied by Uganda’s Joy Cheptoyek and USA’s Weini Kelati

The Ethiopian athletes also followed close to the Kenyan and Ugandan runners.

Amidst the race, Kazakhstan’s Daisy Jepkemei briefly took the lead during the second lap, but the Kenyan quintet swiftly reclaimed control, running stride for stride until the end.

Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships 4
Photo Credit: World Athletics

Jacob Kiplimo Secures Consecutive Victory in Senior Men’s Race

The women’s race wasn’t the only one dominated by the reigning world XC champion as Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda has clinched victory once again in the senior men’s race at the World Athletics Cross Country Championships. 

His dominant win places him in the esteemed company of athletes such as Kenenisa Bekele, Geoffrey Kamworor, and Paul Tergat as a back-to-back winner of the senior men’s title.

Sharing the podium with Kiplimo are Ethiopia’s Berihu Aregawi, who replicated his performance from the previous edition to claim silver, and Kenya’s Benson Kiplangat, who secured an unexpected bronze medal.

Various contenders made significant moves in the race, with Chimdessa Debele of Ethiopia taking an early lead, followed closely by France’s Mehdi Frere. However, it was Kiplimo and 2019 winner Joshua Cheptegei who emerged as frontrunners amidst a large chase pack.

Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships 5

As the race progressed, the team dynamics came into play, with Uganda and Kenya locked in a tight battle for points. Kiplimo’s strategic astuteness became evident as he began to assert his dominance, steadily pulling ahead of his competitors as the final lap approached.

With each stride, it became clear the Kiplimo was headed for glory. He ultimately crossed the finish line in 28:09 to secure his consecutive victory. 

Aregawi followed closely behind, clinching the silver medal once again with a time of 28:12, while Kiplangat held on to secure the bronze in 28:14, simultaneously leading the Kenyan team to gold in the team standings.

Reflecting on his triumph, Kiplimo expressed the exhilaration of successfully defending his title amidst fierce competition. He acknowledged the challenges posed by the strong field of contenders but remained steadfast in his pursuit of victory.

“It actually feels more exciting to successfully defend my title than to win the first one,” said Kiplimo. But it was also tougher. I came here expecting I could win again, but the field was really strong. The pace was fast, the guys kept pushing it and there was still a big group out in front. It wasn’t until the final three kilometres that I felt I needed to move to the front.”

Beatrice Chebet And Jacob Kiplimo Crowned Back-To-Back Winners At World Cross Country Championships 6

“The course was fine, a little challenging with the obstacles,” he added. “It was a little tough running in the heat, but that wasn’t a major issue.”

“I was hungry for medals after missing Budapest last year. I was in good shape, but then the injury happened and I had to get treatment, but I am back now. My goal this year is to do what Joshua Cheptegei did and win an Olympic gold. My main focus is the 10,000m, but I’m not sure yet if I want to double.”

With Kiplimo’s remarkable victory alongside Beatrice Chebet’s earlier triumph in the senior women’s race, the Belgrade XC Championships mark a historic moment as both the senior men’s and women’s champions successfully defend their titles, showcasing the pinnacle of cross-country excellence.

You can find the top 10 results below:

Women’s Top 10

  1. Beatrice Chebet (KEN) – 31:05
  2. Lilian Kasait Rengeruk (KEN) – 31:08
  3. Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi (KEN) – 31:09
  4. Emmaculate Anyango Achol (KEN) – 31:24
  5. Agnes Jebet Ngetich (KEN) – 31:27
  6. Sarah Chelangat (UGA) – 32:00
  7. Daisy Jepkemei (KAZ) – 32:04
  8. Bertukan Welde (ETH) – 32:14
  9. Loice Ghekwemoi. (UGA) – 32:24
  10. Mebrat Gidey (ETH) – 32:27

Men’s Top 10

  • Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) – 28:09
  • Berihu Aregawi (ETH) – 28:12
  • Benson Kiplangat (KEN) – 28:14
  • Nicholas Kipkorir (KEN) – 28:16
  • Samwel Chebolei Masai (KEN) – 28:18
  • Joshua Cheptegei (UGA) – 28:24
  • Sabastian Sawe (KEN) – 28:31
  • Gideon Kipkertich Rono (KEN) – 28:31
  • Thierry Ndikumwenayo (ESP) – 28:36
  • Boki Diriba (ETH) – 28:28
Photo of author
Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.