Hellen Obiri wins Rome DL 5000m over G. Dibaba, Running a NR of 14:18.37 – What happened to G. Dibaba and Almaz Ayana? (We’ve got all the answers)

What happened to Almaz Ayana?

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Last year’s Rome 5000m winner and the meeting record holder, Almaz Ayana, was scheduled to take part and break the WR she missed by just over 1 second last year, running 14:12.59, but she had to withdraw from the race this year due to injury. Ayana has not competed in any race this year. However, if her injury heals on time, she has a the right to compete in the 5000m at the IAAF World Championships this year in London, August 4th to 13th, because she is the defending champion, having won the previous 5000 meters World Championships in 2015 Beijing, China. Hence, she has the wild card to compete this year if she is ready and wants to defend her title in August.

This year’s Rome 5000m race:

After failing the 5000m WR attempt in Eugene 13 days earlier (story can be found here), Genzebe Dibaba was giving another shot at the WR in Rome, a world record (14:11.15) that her older sister Tirunesh owns. Genzebe was leading the pack through 4000m, but started to fall behind as Hellen Obiri took over the lead. Obiri won the race in a new National Record of 14:18.37. Genzebe came in 6th.

Watch the race below:

Full Results:
1 OBIRI Hellen KEN 13 DEC 1989 18 14:18.37 WL NR 16 1
2 TIROP Agnes Jebet KEN 23 OCT 1995 11 14:33.09 PB 7 4
3 GIDEY Letesenbet ETH 20 MAR 1998 14 14:33.32 PB 12 2
4 CAN Yasemin TUR 11 DEC 1996 17 14:36.82 PB 5 6
5 DIRO NEDA Etenesh ETH 10 MAY 1991 16 14:40.29 SB 4 7
6 DIBABA Genzebe ETH 8 FEB 1991 19 14:41.55 3 9
7 KIPKEMBOI Margaret Chelimo KEN 9 FEB 1993 5 14:43.89 PB 7 5
8 CHEPTAI Irine Chebet KEN 4 FEB 1992 4 14:47.11 SB 1 12
9 GRØVDAL Karoline Bjerkeli NOR 14 JUN 1990 15 15:05.36 SB
10 CHELANGAT Sheila KEN 11 APR 1998 6 15:15.08 PB
11 LOZANO Ana ESP 22 FEB 1991 2 15:18.07 PB
12 DEGEFA Beyenu ETH 12 JUL 1999 3 15:19.49 SB
13 SCOTT Dominique RSA 24 JUN 1992 8 15:20.10 PB
14 TESFAYE Haftamnesh ETH 28 APR 1994 10 15:20.10 SB
15 SECCAFIEN Andrea CAN 27 AUG 1990 9 15:20.77 SB
16 TWELL Stephanie GBR 17 AUG 1989 12 15:24.05 SB
17 BONTU Edao (PM) BRN 12 DEC 1997 20 15:37.97
18 WESTPHAL Liv FRA 22 DEC 1993 1 15:40.74 SB
19 CARTON Louise BEL 1994 7 15:48.94 SB
KUSHNIR Viktoriya (PM) BLR 9 FEB 1993 21 DNF
McCOLGAN Eilish GBR 25 NOV 1990 13 DNF

What happened to Genzebe Dibaba?

Here’s what we think happened:

After the pace maker dropped out before the 2000m mark (5 laps), Genzebe took over the lead and led through 4000m (10th lap). After hitting a consistent 69 seconds for the first 7 laps, Genzebe ran 64 seconds for the 8th lap (check the screenshot below).

19074045_1893325164017730_1612651352_n.jpgThat is technically a finishing speed for an elite 5000m runner. In comparison, Hellen Obiri only run 65 seconds on her last lap to win this race (check the full lap split times below).


We’ve learned a great lesson from the men’s Rome 800m race what it feels like when going too fast in a distance race (watch the men’s 800 video below) :

Therefore, we think it is the 64 seconds 8th lap that really affected her race since it is hard to continue running after running that fast, although she still managed to finish the race in a modest time of 14:41.55. So this is what we think happened to Genzebe. What do YOU think? Leave your comments below!



  1. CORRECTION on what happened to Genzebe Dibaba:
    The split times on the DL site must’ve been wrong. As shown on the screenshots, the split times on the DL site has Genzebe Dibaba leading and hitting the 2000m, 3000m, 4000m marks ahead of everyone else. That’s what tricked us, but looking at the video again, Dibaba definitely did not lead for that long and she didn’t even get to the 3000m mark before Obiri.

    Thanks to a letsrun.com poster, Sasuke, for pointing that out!


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