Faith Kipyegon, Nicholas Kimeli, and Mary Moraa secure their Budapest tickets on the first day of the Kenyan national trials in Nairobi.

In an exciting final on the first day of the Kenyan national trials at the Nyayo National Stadium in Nairobi, the double Olympic champion, double world champion, and double world record holder, Faith Kipyegon, won the women’s 5000m race.

Faith Kipyegon, 2022 NIke Pre Classic, photo by Kevin Morris

The first few laps of the race were relatively conservative before Lilian Kasait decided to make it an honest 5000m race, not a jog and a 1500m race. Guess who agreed with her? The World and Olympic 1500m runner reacted, overtook her, and went to the front again to continue the hard pace that soon saw only three runners remaining in the leading pack, with 1000m to go. They were Kasait, Kipyegon, and Margaret Chelimo.

As they came to the bell, only two remained in contention for the win. But with 150m to go, Kipyegon began to stretch the lead against Kasait and proceeded to easily win the race in 14:53.90 as Kasait followed in 14:56.50. Chelimo finished third in 15:07.49 and now awaits to know her fate depending on Kipyegon’s ambition to double in Budapest and Beatrice Chebet’s chances of getting a wild card to join the team.

The day started gloomy, cold, and with intervals of drizzling rainfall. The afternoon weather remained a bit cold, which was perfect for the long-distance runners, but a little chilly for the fans.

The men’s 10,000m race at 1 PM kicked off the national event. The race became an exciting climax after three runners, Daniel Ebenyo, Nicholas Kimeli, and Benard Kibet, broke away from the rest of the field. Ebenyo did much of the pacing before slowing down and letting Kimeli take to the front with about two laps to go as he remained on his heels. With 200m to go, Kibet began to lose ground, and Kimeli went on to win the race in 27:29.8. Ebenyo followed to take second in 27:30.5 as Kibet awaited his fate after finishing third in 27:33.5.

As the day’s event came to a climax, Mary Moraa produced a spectacular run in the women’s 400m to register a new national record of 50.39 in the process, which was 5 seconds faster than the time she ran at the Botswana Golden Grand Prix to set the previous one earlier in the year.

Mary Moraa takes the 800 meters, in Rabat, photo by Diamond League AG

This was followed by the men’s 800m heats that were as competitive as expected. Kinyamal won the first heat in 1:46.48. Emmanuel Wanyonyi led the second heat almost to the end before getting challenged by Alex Kipngetich in the last few meters of the race.