In a surprising turn of events, Faith Kipyegon, the reigning world champion and record holder in the 1,500 meters, experienced her first defeat of 2023 during the World Road Running Championships in Riga, Latvia.
Kipyegon, affectionately known as the “GOAT,” had to settle for the bronze medal in the women’s Road Mile at this inaugural championship.
Competing on the road for the first time, Kipyegon had displayed all the signs of a potential victory, only to be outperformed by Ethiopian athlete Diribe Welteji, who secured the top spot with a remarkable time of 4:20.98.
Welteji’s fellow countrywoman, Freweyni Hailu, claimed second place with a time of 4:23.06, while Kipyegon finished in third position, recording a time of 4:24.18.
Despite the unexpected outcome, Faith Kipyegon took a moment to express her heartfelt gratitude to her dedicated fans for their unwavering support and words of encouragement following her defeat.
She recognized the challenges that come with transitioning from track events to road races but viewed this experience as a valuable learning opportunity.
“After an incredible year with 3 World Records and 2 World titles on the track, I’m proud to finish the season with another World Championships medal in my first road race ever. 2023, you were amazing, and now… holiday and family time,” Kipyegon said.
She says she will use this race as a learning curve. “Every race presents a learning curve, this first road race has offered me an opportunity to calibrate and fine tune for the next season.”