Who is Agnes Ngetich? The Kenyan youngster taking the world of athletics by storm

Athletics Weekly

ATHLETICS Who is Agnes Ngetich? The Kenyan youngster taking the world of athletics by storm

Abigael Wafula 08:00 - 18.01.2024

A look into the bumpy journey of Agnes Ngetich, the youngster who shattered the 10km world record in Valencia to become the first woman to run under 29 minutes over the distance.

Agnes Jebet Ngetich has been making waves in the world of athletics and she is definitely not stopping at anything.

Ngetich, born on January 23, 2001, started her dominant exploits in the junior category. She made her first appearance on the track back in 2016 and she finished seventh at the Nairobi Kenya World Junior Trials.

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In 2017, the Kenyan competed in a couple of local races, where she posted mixed results but did not give up on herself. In 2018, the 17-year-old made her international debut, starting off with the Cambridge Adidas Boost Boston Games where she finished fourth in the 5000m race.

The youngster then proceeded to the Honolulu Kalakaua Merrie Mile where she finished an impressive third. In 2019 March, things started looking up for Ngetich who won the 5000m race during the Kenya African U20 Trials.

However, she faltered again, the following year, finishing 13th at the Kip Keino Classic but she did not give up as she diligently sought a comeback in 2021. She competed at the Olympic Games trials but faded to finish eighth in the 5000m and missed out on the global bonanza. The same year, Ngetich also finished fifth at the Kenyan Cross-Country Championships.

2022 was also a mixed season for the now 22-year-old who will be turning 23 in a few days. One of her remarkable performances was finishing runner-up to Sheila Chepkirui at the Brasov Running Festival 10 km road race in Brașov, Romania, where she would later return to complete her unfinished business.

2023 was a great year for Ngetich who bagged her first-ever medal on a global stage, winning a bronze medal in the women’s senior race at the World Cross-country Championships and also bagging gold for the team.

Ngetich also made the cut to the national team for the World Championships in Budapest, Hungary where she finished sixth in a tight women’s 10,000m final.

In September of the same year, she broke the women-only world record over the 10km at the Transylvania 10km in Brasov, Romania, with a time of 29:24. However, the time was not recognised as a world record since the course was shorter.

Ngetich did not give up on her quest to shatter the world record and she returned to training and pushing herself beyond limits. On January 14, 2024, she set a world record for the 10 km run in a mixed-gender race. At the 10 K Valencia, she improved on the former world record by Yalemzerf Yehualaw (Ethiopia) set in 2022 by 28 seconds.

Ngetich had a finishing time of 28:46 with the help of a male pacemaker, making her the first-ever woman to run under 29 minutes over the distance.

After the race, she told World Athletics: “Honestly, my clear goal was to break the world record but 28:46 is beyond any expectations. When I saw 14:13 by halfway I didn't scare, it just motivated me a lot to keep on pushing until the end.

"I have no words to describe what I feel now. I'll be doing the Kenyan trials for Belgrade, where I would like to improve on my bronze medal from last year," she added.

Surely, Ngetich has just began and she is already sending shivers down the spines of other runners who have been experts on the roads and cross country.