Kiplimo Triumphs in the Storm

By Clay Shaw and Karen Mitchell

Bathurst, Australia, February 18, 2023, World Athletics World Cross Country Championships—Three men with big resumes were in serious contention for the senior men’s race (10K) title. Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda had won the junior race in 2017 in his home country of Uganda.  In 2019 he finished second in the senior race in Aarhus, Denmark.  To win in 2023 he would need to beat defending champ Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda and two-time champ Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya.  Kamworor had won in Guiyang, China 2015 and in Kampala, Uganda 2017.  They all had to beat an impending storm.

This summer storm was approaching fast.  Race officials, with some quick thinking, started the senior women five minutes early and then the senior men twenty minutes early.  The wind began to blow violently, the skies darkened and spectators were asked to leave and take shelter.  The athletes kept running and were hustled to their pits upon finishing.  Awards were moved to an inside location at nearby Charles Sturt University.  As it turned out, lightning and rain did happen, and the sudden schedule change was smart.  

This was our first World XC south of the equator, although Kampala was close.  It’s currently summer in Australia with bright, harsh sun, and the temps were higher than usual for race day.  The races started at 3:30 pm, unusual for the sport.  We asked why 3:30, but didn’t really get an answer, although some people guessed that it was related to TV coverage.  This answer wouldn’t apply to the US.  With the 3:30 pm Saturday start time in Bathurst, in the Eastern Time Zone the event was 11:30 pm Friday – 3:00 am Saturday morning, not exactly prime time in the US.

The results: Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda won the men’s senior race (10K) in 29:17.  Joshua Cheptegei finished third in 29:37.  Kamworir finished fourth this year in 29:37.  Who was second?  Ethiopian speedster Berihu Aregawi was second in 29:26. Kibiwott Kandie was fifth and the final man under 30 minutes, in 29:57.

Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda were the podium teams (no big surprise).  Australia had a solid group and finished fourth.  South Africa was fifth, the USA was sixth, Spain was seventh, Tanzania was eighth, New Zealand was ninth.  Canada was tenth.  New to XC was Papua New Guinea, who placed 13th in the team groupings.

Top Finishers

  1. 29:17 Jacob Kiplimo, Uganda
  2. 29:26 Berihu Aregawi, Ethiopia
  3. 29:37 Joshua Cheptegei, Uganda
  4. 29:37 Geoffrey Kamworor, Kenya
  5. 29:57 Kibiwott Kandie, Kenya
  6. 30:01 Daniel Ebenyo, Kenya
  7. 30:04 Sabastian Sawe, Kenya
  8. 30:06 Rodrigue Kwizera, Burundi
  9. 30:10 Hailemariyam Amare, Ethiopia
  10. 30:11 Mogos Tuemay, Ethiopia
  11. 30:13 Chimdessa Debele, Ethiopia
  12. 30:16 Selemon Barega, Ethiopia
  13. 30:32 Nicholas Kipkorir, Kenya
  14. 30:39 Getaneh Molla, Ethiopia
  15. 30:40 Rogers Kibet, Uganda
  16. 30:44 Precious Mashelle, South Africa
  17. 30:53 Habtom Samuel, Eritrea
  18. 30:56 Martin Kiprotich, Uganda
  19. 30:57 Emmanuel Kipruto, Kenya
  20. 30:57 Celestin Ndikumana, Burundi
  21. 31:04 Samuel Chelanga, United States
  22. 31:08 Aaron Las Heras, Spain
  23. 31:11 Ky Robinson, Australia
  24. 31:12 Isaac Kibet, Uganda
  25. 31:12 Samsom Amare, Eritrea
  26. 31:14 Santiago Catrofe, Uruguay
  27. 31:18 Maxime Chaumeton, South Africa
  28. 31:24 Josephat Gisemo, Tanzania
  29. 31:30 Jack Rayner, Australia
  30. 31:34 Samuel Kibet, Uganda
Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda is all smiles winning World Cross 2023 in Bathurst. The wind whipped the banner in a surreal moment.
World XC champions Joshua Cheptegei in 2019 and Jacob Kiplimo in 2023. Uganda took first and third in Bathurst.
Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia shared the podium with Jacob Kiplomo and Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda. Samuel and Rogers Kibet from Uganda decided they would like to be in the photo, too. It’s the three men on the left who won the medals.
Samuel Chelanga was the top American, placing 21st.
Emmanuel Bor of the USA was 32nd at World XC The USA finished sixth among teams.
Intense racing up-front. Former champions Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya and Joshua Cheptegei of Uganda duel. Berihu Aregawi of Ethiopia and Daniel Ebenyo of Kenya are also in the front group.
Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya leads Samuel Kibet of Uganda and Geoffrey Kamworor of Kenya and others through the big race car tires of “The Chicane.”
Rodrigue Kwizera of Burundi was eighth in 30:06. Burundi is a small country bordering Tanzania in East Africa.
Reid Buchanan of the USA rounds the corner after Roberto Del Valle of Mexico and ahead of Tim Robertson of New Zealand.
Andrew Colley of the USA chases William Amponsah of Ghana near “The Chicane.” Colley placed 36th. Amponsah was 41st.
Anthony Rotich of the USA rounds the corner with his back bib hanging by two pins.
Dillon Maggard of the USA heads into the turn toward “The Chicane.”
Andrew Colley of the USA grabs the big tire for leverage heading into “The Chicane.” Most of the athletes chose not to hurdle the tires. In this lap, almost all of the athletes grabbed this tire.
Reid Buchanan of the USA runs through “The Chicane.” With the early men’s start due to the impending storm, a woman from the senior women’s race was still on the course.
Aleksandr Salakhudinov of Kyrgyzstan was the only athlete from KGZ.
Athletes from nations not normally at World XC came to Bathurst. Wan Chun Wong of Hong Kong runs with Damien Troquenet of French Polynesia. Israel Takap of Papa New Guinea trails the pair in soft light before the storm.

Categories: Race Coverage

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2 replies

  1. Thanks for the great coverage! It was a wild one out there!


  2. Great article Karen and Clay.


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