10 Fastest 5k Times in History

A 5k race is a popular distance for runners of all abilities, as it is challenging yet achievable for most people. The goal of a 5k race is to complete the 3.1-mile distance as quickly as possible. Training for a 5k race involves building endurance, speed, and strength through various workouts such as running, intervals, and strength training.

5k races are held worldwide and attract a wide range of runners, from elite athletes to amateur runners. To successfully race a 5k, it is essential to have a proper warm-up routine, a good pacing strategy, and a strong mental game.

10. Isiah Koech

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 57.08 seconds
Birthday: December 19, 1993
Birthplace: Kericho, Kenya
 Country Representing: Kenya
 Event: Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon

Isiah Koechphoto source: t2.gstatic.com

Isiah Kiplangat Koech, a long-distance runner from Kenya who excels in the 5000 meters, was born on December 19, 1993.

Koech won the gold medal in the 3000-meter event at the 2009 World Youth Athletics Championships in Brixen, Italy, setting a new youth record of 7 minutes and 51.51 seconds.

Did You Know:

He set a Kenyan record for the quickest 5000-meter time at the 2012 Kenyan Olympic trials, winning the race and securing his first Olympic selection.


9. Sammy Kipketer

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 56.62 seconds
Birthday: September 29, 1981
Birthplace: Chepkitale, Kenya
 Country Representing: Kenya
 Event: Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon

Sammy Kipketerphoto source: media.gettyimages.com

Sammy Kipketer is a former Kenyan middle-distance runner. The Kenyan long-distance runner is best known for his success in the 5000 and 10,000-meter events. He was born in Chepkitale, Kenya, and began his running career as a teenager.

In addition to his success in international competitions, Kipketer also had a successful career at the national level, winning numerous Kenyan national titles in the 800-meter event. Despite his retirement from competitive running in 2006, Kipketer remains one of Kenya’s most accomplished middle-distance runners.

Did You Know:

Kipketer is best known for his success in the 800-meter event, in which he won a gold medal at the 1997 World Championships in Athens. He also won a silver medal in the same event at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.


8. Caleb Ndiku

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 56.29 seconds
Birthday: October 9, 1992
Birthplace: Kipkelion District, Kenya
 Country Representing: Kenya
 Event: Prefontaine Classic in Eugene, Oregon

Caleb Ndikuphoto source: media.aws.iaaf.org

Caleb Ndiku is a Kenyan middle-distance runner specializing in 1500 and 5000-meter events. He was born and raised in the Kipkelion District of Kenya and began his running career as a teenager.

In 2015, he won a gold medal in the 5000 meters at the World Championships, cementing his place as one of the top runners in the world. In addition to his success on the track, Ndiku is also known for his charitable work and efforts to promote running in his home country.

Did You Know:

Ndiku quickly made a name for himself nationally and internationally, winning numerous medals at major competitions, including the African Championships and the Commonwealth Games.


7. Zersenay Tadese

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 55.23 seconds
Birthday: February 8, 1982
Birthplace: Adi Bana, Eritrea
 Country Representing: Eritrea
 Event: the Lisbon Half Marathon in Lisbon, Portugal

Zersenay Tadesephoto source: pbs.twimg.com

Eritrean long-distance runner Zersenay Tadese is well-known for his accomplishments in the half-marathon and marathon distances. He started running as a teenager and was raised in the tiny nation of Eritrea in East Africa.

Tadese quickly made a name for himself nationally and internationally, winning numerous medals at major competitions, including the World Half Marathon Championships and the Olympics. In addition, he ran the half marathon in 58 minutes and 23 seconds in 2010, breaking the previous record.

Tadese is renowned for his philanthropic work and initiatives to promote running in his native nation and his achievements on the track.

Did You Know:

Tadese has won six gold medals at the World Half Marathon Championships, making him one of the most successful runners in the event’s history.


6. Leonard Komon

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 53.76 seconds
Birthday: January 10, 1988
Birthplace: Kapsowar, Kenya
 Country Representing: Kenya
 Event: IAAF Continental Cup in Split, Croatia

Leonard Komonphoto source: media.aws.iaaf.org

Kenyan long-distance runner Leonard Komon is well-known for winning the 10,000 and 15,000-meter competitions. In a short time, Komon established himself nationally and internationally, earning multiple medals at important events like the African and World Cross Country Championships.

He ran the 10,000 meters in 26 minutes and 44 seconds in 2010, breaking the previous record. Along with his accomplishments on the track, Komon is renowned for his philanthropic work and initiatives to promote running in his native nation.

Did You Know:

Komon has also had success in road racing, winning the Great South Run in 2010 and the Bupa Great North Run in 2011.


5. Sir Mo Farah

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 53.11 seconds
Birthday: March 23, 1983
Birthplace: Gabiley, Somali Democratic Republic
 Country Representing: Great Britain
 Event: MONDO Milan Street Circuit in Milan, Italy

Sir Mo Farahphoto source: ichef.bbci.co.uk

British distance runner Sir Mo Farah, who is of Somali heritage, is well-known for winning the 5000- and 10,000-meter races. He was born in Somalia and later illegally migrated to the UK as a young child. As a teenager, Farah started running and built a name for himself nationally and internationally.

At important international tournaments, he has won many medals, including six gold medals at the World Championships and four gold medals at the Olympics. Farah is well-known for his humanitarian work, initiatives to promote running in the UK, and his success on the track.

Did You Know:

In 2017, Farah set a new British record in the marathon, finishing the race in 2 hours, 6 minutes, and 21 seconds. This record has since been broken, but Farah remains one of the top marathon runners in British history.


4. Eliud Kipchoge

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 52.79 seconds
Birthday: November 5, 1984
Birthplace: Nandi County, Kenya
 Country Representing: Kenya
 Event: MONDO Milan Street Circuit in Milan, Italy

Eliud Kipchogephoto source: media.cnn.com

Kipchoge won his first solo global championship after taking first place in the junior event at the 2003 World Cross Country Championships and breaking the junior world record over 5000 meters on the track.

He set a championship record at the 2003 World Championships while taking home the senior 5000 m title. He was only 18 years old. He went on to represent Kenya in the 2004 Summer Olympics after winning a bronze medal at the 2006 World Indoor Championships.

At the 2007 World Championships, the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and the 2010 Commonwealth Games, Kipchoge took home silver medals. In addition, he placed fifth in the 5000-meter race at the World Championships five times.

Did You Know:

In 2019, Kipchoge became the first person in history to run a marathon in under two hours, finishing the race in 1 hour, 59 minutes, and 40 seconds.

This achievement, known as the “Sub-Two Hour Marathon,” was not recognized as an official world record due to the use of pacemakers and other factors. However, it is still considered one of the greatest feats in running history.


3. Haile Gebrselassie

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 51.86 seconds
Birthday: April 18, 1973
Birthplace: Asella, Arsi Province
 Country Representing: Ethiopia
 Event: Hengelo Golden Spike meeting in Hengelo, Netherlands

Haile Gebrselassiephoto source: e3.365dm.com

Over 10,000 meters, Haile Gebrselassie captured four World Championship crowns and two Olympic gold medals. He won the Dubai Marathon three times in a row and four straight victories at the Berlin Marathon. In addition, he won the 2001 Global Half Marathon title and four other world championships indoors.

In the later half of his career, Haile switched from cross-country, indoor, and outdoor running to road running. He achieved notable victories in races that spanned 1500 meters to the marathon.

He set 27 world marks and broke 61 Ethiopian national records over distances ranging from 800 meters to the marathon, making him one of the best distance runners in history.

Did You Know:

Gebrselassie is also an accomplished businessman and owns several hotels and other businesses in Ethiopia.


2. Joshua Cheptegei

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 51.01 seconds
Birthday: September 12, 1996
Birthplace: Kapsewui, Kapchorwa District
 Country Representing: Uganda
 Event: MONDO Milan Street Circuit in Milan, Italy

Joshua Cheptegeiphoto source: images.beinsports.com

Joshua Cheptegei tried out the long jump, triple jump, and football in elementary school before discovering his potential for distance running and switching to running.

Cheptegei quickly made a name for himself nationally and internationally, winning numerous medals at major competitions, including the World and the African Championships.

In 2020, he set a new world record in the 10,000 meters, finishing the race in 26 minutes and 11 seconds.

Did You Know:

Cheptegei is the first Ugandan athlete to win a gold medal at the World Championships, having done so in the 10,000 meters in 2019.


1. Kenenisa Bekele

Fastest time: 12 minutes and 37.35 seconds
Birthday: June 13, 1982
Birthplace: Bekoji, Arsi Province
 Country Representing: Ethiopia
 Event: Hengelo Golden Spike meeting in Hengelo, Netherlands

Kenenisa Bekelephoto source: olympics.nbcsports.com

Kenenisa Bekele has the fastest 5k time in history with 12 minutes and 37.35 seconds at the Hengelo Golden Spike meeting in Hengelo, Netherlands, on May 31, 2004. He is an Ethiopian long-distance runner born on June 13, 1982, close to Bekoji.

In 2004 and 2008, he won Olympic gold medals in the 10,000-meter race. Later on, he won the marathon.

He won the IAAF World Junior Cross Country title in March 2001 by a full 33 seconds. Five months later, in August 2001, he broke the world junior record for the 3000 meters by clocking 7 minutes and 30.67 seconds in Brussels.

After three and a half years, Augustine Choge smashed the record with a run of 7 minutes and 28.78 seconds. Kenenisa won the 15-kilometer Montferland Run in the Netherlands in December 2000 and 2001.

Did You Know:

With 11 gold medals earned, Bekele is the most successful athlete in World Championships history. Only he has won the 5000 and 10,000-meter long-distance double at the Olympic Games, the World Championships, and the World Cross Country Championships.

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