Beatrice Chebet Roars Down the Homestretch in a Dramatic Victory

By Clay Shaw
Photography by Clay Shaw and Karen Mitchell

Bathurst, Australia, February 18, 2023, World Athletics Cross Country Championships Bathurst 23—Beatrice Chebet of Kenya was seemingly resigned to a second-place finish in the senior women’s 10K.  (Note to readers: ‘Senior’ is a term widely used around the world to denote racers over 20-years-old.)  Beatrice, who is 22, won in 33:48 on the difficult, hot and dusty course at Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit.

Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia, the world record holder in the 5000 and 10,000 meters and half-marathon distances, was well on her way to win her first World Cross senior title.  Unseen by many, Gidey ran into a lapped runner in “the chicane,” an area of big racing-car tires and a hairpin turn approximately 200 meters prior to the finish line.  Still, she maintained her lead coming down the finish, but began to slow and did not run the tangent near the hay bales.  Chebet, who cut the tangent at the top of the hill with a long, hard, dedicated sprint caught Gidey with 20 yards to go.  Gidey then collapsed, at which point two coaches jumped onto the course and helped Gidey to her feet.  Tsigie Gebreselama of Ethiopia, went by for second place, in 33:56.  Agnes Ngetich of Kenya went by to take third in 34:00.  Gidey finished fourth, but was disqualified for receiving aid from someone other than another athlete.  The DQ cost Ethiopia a few team points, but would have finished second to Kenya anyway. 

Grace Nawowuna of Kenya was fourth in 34:30.  Fotyen Tesfay of Ethiopia was fifth in 34:30.  East African dominance was extreme, as runners from Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda took the first thirteen places.  Nozomi Tanaka of Japan was 14th in 35:08, which was the best place by a non-African-born athlete since Neely Spence Gracey of the USA placed 13th in Bydgoszcz, Poland in 2013.

Ednah Kurgat of the USA was 18th in 35:36.  Weini Kelati was 21st in 35:48.  Katie Izzo was 31st in 36:25.  Allie Buchalski was 33rd in 36:37.  Emily Lipari was 56th in 39:06.  Team USA was fifth behind Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Australia.  Team USA was ahead of Great Britain, South Africa, Canada, Spain, New Zealand, and Lebanon.

Editor’s Note:  On modern racing circuits, ‘chicanes’ are usually located after a long straight to prevent vehicles from reaching speeds deemed to be unsafe. Example is “The Chase” at Mount Panorama. This edition of World Cross Country was held on the grounds of Mount Panorama Motor Racing Circuit.

Top Finishers

  1. 33:48 Beatrice Chebet, Kenya
  2. 33:56 Tsigie Gebreselama, Ethiopia
  3. 34:00 Agnes Ngetich, Kenya
  4. 34:13 Grace Nawowuna, Kenya
  5. 34:30 Fotyen Tesfay, Ethiopia
  6. 34:36 Hawi Feysa, Ethiopia
  7. 34:42 Prisca Chesang, Uganda
  8. 34:45 Edinah Jebitok, Kenya
  9. 34:49 Emily Chebet, Kenya
  10. 34:58 Stella Chesang, Uganda
  11. 35:01 Doreen Chesang, Uganda
  12. 35:04 Gete Alemayehu, Ethiopia
  13. 35:08 Annet Chelanagat, Uganda
  14. 35:08 Nozomi Tanaka, Japan
  15. 35:14 Wede Kefale, Ethiopia
  16. 35:30 Rispa Cherop, Uganda
  17. 35:32 Dolshi Tesfu, Eritrea
  18. 35:36 Ednah Kurgat, United States
  19. 35:38 Ellie Pashley, Australia
  20. 35:39 Parul Chaudhary, India
  21. 35:48 Weini Kelati, United States
  22. 35:49 Leanne Pompeani, Ausrtralia
  23. 35:52 Rose Davies, Australia
  24. 35:53 Abbie Donnelly, Great Britain
  25. 35:56 Amelia Quirk, Great Britain
  26. 36:01 Laura Galvan, Mexico
  27. 36:02 Cian Oldknow, South Africa
  28. 36:03 Caitlin Adams, Australia
  29. 36:17 Isobel Batt-Doyle, Australia
  30. 36:20 Irene Sanchez-Escribano
  31. 36:25 Katie Izzo, United States
  32. 36:30 Mercyline Chelangat, Uganda
  33. 36:37 Allie Buchalski, United States
  34. 36:43 Regan Yee, Canada
  35. 36:43 Natalia Allen, Canada
Ednah Kurgat of the USA leads the senior women past the crowds in the fan zone at the start of World XC Senior Women’s 10K.
Medalists Beatrice Chebet, Agnes Ngetich of Kenya, and Tsigie Gebreselama of Ethiopia are in front of the large lead pack mid-race.
The large lead pack heads uphill through “The Chicane.”
Traffic jam going around the hairpin turn to the chicane and the tires.
The three Chesangs from Uganda lead the senior women through “The Chicane,” and big race-car tires that the runners mostly weaved through (and a few runners such as Emma Coburn in the mixed relay – hurdled).
Americans Weini Kelati and Ednah Kurgat run together, early in the women’s senior race.
Emily Lipari and Katie Izzo of the USA run through the tires with Irene Sanchez-Escribano of Spain.
Nozomi Tanaka of Japan was the first non-African to finish. She was 14th. Parul Chaudhary of India was 20th.
Katie Izzo of the USA charges around the corner towards “The Chicane.”
Allie Buchalski of the USA placed 33rd. Glenrose Xaba of South Africa was 42nd.
Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia was helped to her feet by her coach and another man after collapsing within steps of the finish line. She then finished fourth, but was disqualified. (The coaches should have known this would result in a disqualification.)
Beatrice Chebet of Kenya wins Bathurst 2023 World Cross Country in 33:48
Ellie Pashley of Australia leads the home team in 19th place. Parul Chaudhary of India was 20th.
Weini Kelati finished 21st and 2nd American.
Katie Izzo of San Diego, CA ran a solid race to place 31st. Team USA placed fifth.
Beatrice Chebet of Kenya wears a proud smile after winning the World Athletics Cross Country Senior Women’s Race.
Medalists: Tsgie Gebreselama (2nd), Beatrice Chebet (1st) and Agnes Jebet Ngetich (3rd).
Agnes Ngetich of Kenya and Tsigie Gebreselema of Ethiopia congratulate each other on medaling.
Team Canada enjoys a quick team photo as the skies get darker.
Team Canada after the senior race. Katelyn Ayers, Natalia Allen, Regan Yee, Maria Bernard-Galea, Kate Bazeley, and Julie-Anne Staehli.

Categories: Race Coverage

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