Sifan Hassan from The Netherlands and Julien Wanders from Switzerland set world records within minutes of each other today during the Herculis 5km race in Monaco, although they were not the fastest times ever run for the distance.
In the women’s race which went ahead first, Hassan’s intentions to go for the record were immediately clear, as the European 5,000 metres champion surged to the front of the field behind the pace makers, eventually crossing the line in 14min 44secs, more than a minute faster than the old women’s only record.
Her time also broke the pending mixed race record of 14:48.
Great Britain’s Laura Weightman finished second in 15:29, which was also significantly faster than the old women’s only best mark of 15:48.
"After three kilometres I was slow and I thought, I’m not going to make it,” Hassan said.
"I really gave up and was just running, but I pushed at the end, I really sprinted the last 200 metres and I’m so happy.
"It’s my first world record."
The elite men began five minutes later and Wanders, who broke Mo Farah’s European half-marathon record last week, continued his record breaking form by finishing in 13:29, just one second inside the target time of 13:30.
Norway’s Sondre Moen came second in 13:37.
"I got two European records and now a world record, my first one, so it’s amazing," Wanders said.
The 22-year-old, who is based in Kenya, went on to reveal he broke the record despite suffering from an illness in recent days.
"I was confident," Wanders said.
"The only thing was I got flu three days ago so it was a challenge for me, I was not sure.
"I wanted to go for around 13:20 and we were right on pace at half-way but then we were losing time and I was a bit worried because I knew 13:30 was the old record and at the finish I saw 13:30 and then they told me, no, it was 13:29, so I was very happy."
There is some controversy about the performances, however, as the 5km road distance was only introduced by the IAAF as a world record event in November 2017.
Kenya's Sammy Kipketer ran 13:00 in Carlsbad in 2000 - almost half-a-minute quicker than Wanders’ time today.
Another Kenyan, Joyciline Jepkosgei, has run the quickest women’s 5km with 14:32 in Prague in 2017.
To add to the mild confusion, Wanders’ mark today in Monaco is slower than the 13:10 minimum requirement originally stipulated by the IAAF last year.
The event was held on the eve 2019 Laureus World Sports Awards, due to ahead in the Principality tomorrow.
The prestigious annual awards ceremony crowns the best male and female athlete of the year, with previous winners including 20-time Grand Slam tennis champion Roger Federer, track and field star Usain Bolt and formula one driver Michael Schumacher on the men’s side.
On the women’s side gymnast Simone Biles, swimmer Missy Franklin and recently retired alpine skier Lindsey Vonn are among the former winners.
This year the nominees include tennis player Novak Djokovic, winner of two of the four men’s Grand Slam titles in 2018, Alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, who won the overall women’s World Cup title, and French footballer Kylian Mbappe, who helped his country win the FIFA World Cup by scoring in the final at the age of just 19.