She remains a unique women athlete on the globe, breaking all records before her as she holds four world records under her medal cabinet.
Ethiopian Letesenbet Gidey remains a woman of all firsts after shooting into the limelight in 2015 when she won the World Cross Country Junior Championships in Guiyang, China.
Born and raised in the troubled Endameskel, aged 17 years, she made her name known across the globe when she won the world cross country junior title for her nation.
She went ahead to win bronze at the 2019 World Cross Country Championships behind the champion Hellen Obiri and her country mate Dera Dida.
At 21, she won silver in 10,000m at the 2019 event with her personal best of 30:21.23 in a race that was won by Sifan Hassan from the Netherlands who also ran a world lead with the late Agnes Jebet Tirop winning bronze.
In the same year Gidey went on produced again one of her fastest time ever in the Outdoor 3000m race that was held in Palo Alto, California where she set a National Record of 8:20.27.
The Ethiopian went on rampage in November 2019 setting a new world record of 44:20 in the 15K run at the Zevenheuvelenloop road race in Nijmegen, Netherlands, breaking the previous world record held by Joyciline Jepkosgei that she had set in 2017 by more than a minute, and becoming the first woman to run 15K under 45 minutes.
Having four titles as a junior, she went to 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games with a mission to be on the podium and she did with a bronze in the 10,000m behind Sifan Hassan with Bahrain’s Kalkidan Gezahegne (the current 10Km world record holder though not ratified) taking the silver.
With just six years since 2015, Gidey has written her name in four world record events she smashed her first world 5,000m record during the 2020 in 14:06.62 and this summer she went ahead and shattered the world record in the 10,000 meters in Hengelo, Netherlands. She is the first woman since Ingrid Kristiansen from 1986-1993 to hold them both simultaneously.
Gidey obliterated the women’s half marathon world record in her debut at the distance, winning the Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso in 1:02.52. The Ethiopian’s performance improved on the previous world record of 1:04.02 that had been set by Ruth Chepngetich in Istanbul in April—by 70 seconds. This was the third world record the 23-year-old has broken in the last year.
Gidey’s winning time of 1:02.52 marks the first time a woman has ever run faster than the 64 and 63-minute barrier for the half marathon distance.
To put Gidey’s time into perspective, according to World Athletics scoring tables, 62:02 equates to approximately a 13:50 5K, 29-minute 10K and a 2:11 marathon.
Her performance in the half-marathon surpassed both of her previous records. It also indicates that if she moves up to the marathon, she’ll be a strong contender to take down that record as well, which is currently held by Brigid Kosgei at 2:14:04.
This time shows the projections of what someone could run at different distances based on that performance. Her actual splits on that day were no less impressive, however, and she went through 5K in 15:00, sped up over the next 5K to split 29:45 for 10K and went through 15K in 44:29. This 15K time is remarkable, considering it is only nine seconds slower than her own 15K world record.