Running with only one shoe, Conseslus Kipruto completed more than six laps worth of barriers and water jumps to win a hard-fought Diamond League final in Zurich on Thursday.
The Olympic gold medalist in 2016 lost his left spike just over one lap into the steeplechase final, but he was still able to grind out a thrilling victory that ended with a sprint to the finish.
“I have big pain. I am injured because I lost my left shoe. That was a mess, but it motivated me to fight as hard as I could, so the race went well,” the Kenyan runner told race organizers.
While running partially barefoot, Kipruto responded to the mishap by remaining in contention with the lead pack for the entire competition. While the pacemakers took the field out in 2:37 for 1,000 meters and 5:33 for 2,000 meters, Kipruto never lost contact with the lead group, which included world leader Soufiane El Bakkali from Morocco, Olympic silver medalist Evan Jager, and 2016 African champion Chala Beyo.
Battle with El Bakkali
With 300 meters remaining in the race, El Bakkali surged ahead of the pack, but Kipruto responded to the move with a surge of his own. After the last water jump, the two competitors sprinted shoulder to shoulder through the entire 100-meter home stretch until Kipruto out-leaned his Moroccan rival.
Kipruto crossed the finish line in 8:10.15 and El Bakkali finished just behind him in 8:10.19.
After claiming the victory over El Bakkali, Kipruto fell to the track in complete exhaustion over his accomplishment. The world champion’s standout performance earned a memorable Diamond League trophy. By Runners World