The World Athletics Championships in Budapest is set to be a thrilling spectacle, with athletes from around the globe converging to showcase their prowess and vie for the title of the world's best. Among the most anticipated events are the men's middle and long distance races, where endurance, strategy, and sheer speed come into a tantalizing blend. These races often tell tales of intense rivalries, surprise upsets, and last-second triumphs. As the world's eyes turn towards Budapest, here's a preview of what to expect in these grueling tests of human endurance.
Men’s 800 metres:
Kenyan 18-year-old rising star Emmanuel Wanyonyi is looking to add a world senior title to the world under 20 gold medal he won on home soil in Nairobi in 2021. Wanyonyi holds the fastest time among the entrants with his PB of 1:43.27 set at the Diamond League in Paris. Wanyonyi also won three more races at the Kip Keino Classic in Nairobi in 1:43.32, at the Rabat Diamond League meeting with 1:44.36 and at the Kenyan Trials in 1:44.09.
Emmanuel Korir will defend his world title one year after his triumph in Eugene in 1:43.71. Korir also won the Olympic gold medal in Tokyo and the past two editions of the Diamond League final in Zurich.
The Kenyan team will be represented by 2018 world under 20 silver medallist Alex Ngeno Kipngetich and 2021 Olympic silver medallist Ferguson Cheruiyot Rotich, who finished second and third at the Kenyan Trials clocking 1:44.21 and 1:44.71 respectively.
Wycliffe Kinyamal set the fastest time in the world with 1:43.22 at the Monaco Diamond League, but he will not compete at the World Championships in Budapest as he finished fourth at the Kenyan Trials. Kinyamal will be part of the Kenyan 4x400 relay team.
Djamel Sedjati from Algeria and Marco Arop from Canada, who won the silver and bronze medals at the World Championships in Eugene, will be strong contenders for a medal in Budapest. Sedjati won the Diamond League meeting in Stockolm in 1:44.59 and and dipped under the 1:44 barrier with 1:43.40 in Paris and 1:43.88 in Monaco.
Arop finished second in Paris in 1:43.30 and third in 1:43.51 in Monaco and won the Canadian title in Langley in 1:44.64.
Another Algerian athlete, who could fight for a medal, is Slimane Moula, who won at the Doha Diamond League meeting and clocked two sub-1:44 times with 1:43.38 in Paris and 1:43.40 in Monaco.
Great Britain will be represented by a strong trio formed by Max Burgin, Daniel Rowden and Ben Pattison. Burgin, European under 18 champion in Gyor 2018, set his seasonal best of 1:43.85 at the London Diamond League.
Rowden, European under 23 silver medallist in Bydgoszcz 2017, improved his PB to 1:43.95 at the Monaco Diamond League meeting. Pattison set his lifetime best of 1:44.02 in London.
The French team will be led by European indoor silver medallist Benjamin Robert, who clocked 1:43.48 in Paris Charlety, Yanis Meziane, who won the European Under 23 title in Espoo and clocked 1:44.30 in Monaco, and Olympic finalist Gabriel Tual, who set a seasonal best of 1:44.46 in Madrid.
The other top contenders are Bryce Hoppel, world indoor bronze medallist in Belgrade 2022 and US champion this year in Eugene, and Joseph Deng from Australia, who improved the national record to 1:43.99 in Decine (France) last July.
Men’s 1500 metres:
Jakob Ingebrigtsen will chase his first world gold medal in the 1500 metres one year after finishing second to Jake Wightman in Eugene. Ingebrigtsen won the Olympic gold medal in 3:28.32 in Tokyo, the European titles outdoors in Munich 2022 and indoors in Istanbul 2023 and the Diamond League title in Zurich in 2022 with 3:29.02.
Ingebrigtsen improved his European record twice clocking 3:27.95 in Oslo and 3:27.14 in Chorzow and won two more Diamond League races in Rabat in 3:32.59 and Lausanne in 3:28.72.
Mohamed Katir will be looking to reach the podium at the World Championships for the second consecutive edition one year after winning the bronze medal in Eugene in 3:29.90. The Spanish athlete set the Spanish record with 3:28.76 in Monaco in 2021 and came close to his lifetime best when he finished second in Oslo in 3:28.89 this year.
Yared Nuguse made a major breakthrough this year breaking North American records in the indoor mile with 3:47.38 at the Millrose Games and in the outdoor 1500 metres with 3:29.02 in Oslo.
Timothy Cheruiyot will be aiming to reach the podium at the World Championship after finishing second in London 2017 and first in Doha 2019. Cheruiyot also won the Olympic silver medal in Tokyo in 3:29.01 behind Ingebrigtsen. Cheruiyot set his seasonal best of 3:29.08 in Oslo.
Abel Kipsang finished fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 in 3:29.56 and won the world indoor bronze medal in Belgrade 2022. Kipsang finished second to Ingebrigtsen in 3:29.11 in Chorzow.
The Kenyan team is completed by 19-year-old Reynold Kipkorir Cheruiyot, who won the world under 20 gold medal in Cali 2022 and finished third at the Memorial Skolimowska in Chorzow in his PB of 3:30.30 this year.
The British team will be formed by Olympic bronze medallist Josh Kerr, who set his seasonal best of 3:29.64 in Lausanne, Neil Gourley and Elliot Giles, who finished third and fourth in London clocking 3:30.60 and 3:30.92 respectively.
The best European athletes are Mario Garcia from Spain, European bronze medallist in Munich in 2022 and fifth in Oslo in 3:29.18, Narve Gilje Nordas from Norway, who broke the 3:30 barrier for the first time in his career clocking 3:29.47 in Oslo, Azzedine Habz from France, European indoor bronze medallist in Istanbul and a 3:29.26 performer in Oslo, and Andrew Coscoran, Irish record holder with 3:30.42 in Chorzow.
Men’s 5000 metres:
Jakob Ingebrigtsen will defend his 5000 metres world title. Ingebrigtsen won the gold medal over this distance in 13:09.24 beating Kenya’s Jacob Krop and Uganda’s Oscar Chelimo. He won his second consecutive European gold medal in the 5000 metres in Munich and the European indoor title in the 3000 metres in Istanbul 2023.
The Norwegian star set the European record in the 5000 metres with 12:48.45 at the Golden Gala in Florence in 2021.
Mohamed Katir from Spain will also double up in the 1500 and 5000 metres. Katir finished second in the 5000 metres behind Ingebrigtsen at the European Championships in Munich. The Spanish middle-distance runner took the win at the Golden Gala in Florence in 12:52.09 beating Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha by three hundredths of a second. Katir improved Jakob Ingebrigtsen’s European record clocking 12:45.01 in the Monaco Diamond League meeting.
Berihu Aregawi from Ethiopia set the world seasonal best time and a lifetime best of 12:40.45 in Lausanne beating Joshua Cheptegei and finished second in Monaco in 12:42.58. Aregawi won the 5000 metres at the Diamond League final in 2021 on Sechselautenplatz in Zurich.
Uganda’s Joshua Cheptegei will double up in the 5000 and the 10000 metres. Cheptegei had to settle with ninth place in the 5000m due to a muscle strain at the World Championships in Eugene. The Ugandan claimed the gold medal in the 5000 metres and the silver in the 10000 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and set world records in the 5000 metres with 12:35.36 in Monaco and in the 10000 metres with 26:11.00 in Valencia in 2020 but he has never achieved the double over both distances in the same edition of a major championship event. Cheptegei ran two 5000 metres races this year clocking 12:53.81 in Florence and 12:41.61 in Lausanne.
Hagos Gebrhiwet will chase his fourth global medal in the 5000 metres after winning the bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic Games and two world medals (silver in Moscow 2013 and bronze in Beijing 2015).
The Kenyan team will be led by Jacob Krop, who won the world silver medal in Eugene last year. Krop made his breakthrough last year when he finished second at the Golden Gala in Rome in 12.46.79 and won his first Diamond League race in Brussels in 12.45.71. This year he won the Kenyan Trials in Nairobi and set a seasonal best of 12:46.02 in Monaco.
The other major contenders are Mohamed Ahmed from Canada, bronze at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and silver at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021, Luis Grijalva from Guatemala, fourth at the World Championships in Eugene 2022 and national record holder with 12:52.97 at this year’s edition of the Golden Gala in Florence, Thierry Ndikumweanyo from Spain, who set his PB of 7.25.93 in Monaco last year, and Jimmy Gressier from France, national record holder with 12:56.09 in Monaco this year.
Men’s 10000 metres:
Joshua Cheptegei will pursue his goal to defend the 10000 metres world title in Eugene. The Ugandan star won the world silver medal in the 10000 metres behind Mo Farah at the 2017 World Championships in London and two consecutive world gold medals over this distance in Doha 2019 and Eugene 2022 and the world cross country title in Auhrus 2019 ahead of his compatriot Jacob Kiplimo. Cheptegei improved Kenenisa Bekele’s 15-year-old world record in the 10000 metres by six seconds with 26:11.00 in Valencia 2020.
Berihu Aregawi finished fourth in the 10000 metres at the Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Ethiopian athlete won the 10000m Ethiopian Trials in 26:50.66 in Nerja beating Selemon Barega (26:51.87).
Barega finished second in the 3000 metres in 7:27.18 in Doha and fifth in the 5000 metres at the Golden Gala in Florence in 12:56.18.
Nicholas Kipkorir Kimeli won the Kenyan Trials in the 10000 metres in Nairobi. He came to the fore last year when he won the 5000 metres at the Golden Gala in Rome in 12:46.33.
The US team will be led by William Kincaid, who won the National Championships in the 10000 metres in Eugene in 27:06.37 and improved his outdoor PB to 12:54.40 in the 5000m at the Golden Gala in Florence last June.
Yeman Crippa will make his second appearance at the World Championships. The Italian 26-year-old athlete finished eighth in the 10000 metres with the national record of 27:10.76 at the 2019 World Championships in Doha. Last year Crippa won the gold medal in the 10000m and finished third in the 5000 metres at the European Championships in Munich.
Men’s 3000 metres steeplechase:
World record holder Lamecha Girma from Ethiopia will clash against Olympic and world champion Soufian El Bakkali from Morocco for the first time this season.
Girma broke Saif Saeed Shaheen’s 19-year-old world record clocking 7:52.11 at the Diamond League meeting in Paris Charlety last June. Girma, who won the silver medal at both the Olympic Games in Tokyo and at the World Championships in Eugene, also improved the world indoor record in the 3000 metres with 7:23.81 in Liévin and his PB in the 1500 metres to 3:29.51 in Lausanne.
El Bakkali is looking to add another global title after winning the gold medals at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and at the World Championships in Eugene 2022. The Moroccan athlete improved his PB to 7:56.68 in the Diamond League meeting in Rabat in front of his home fans.
Kenyan 20-year-old Simon Koech won the world under 20 bronze medal in Nairobi. Koech has emerged as a potential medal contender last month when he won the Kenyan Trials in Nairobi and at the Monaco Diamond League meeting in his lifetime best of 8:04.19.
The Kenyan team will be also represented by Abraham Kibiwot and Leonard Kipkemoi Bett, who finished second and third at the Kenyan Trials. Kibiwot won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham 2022 and finished fifth at the World Championships in Eugene.
Bett won the world under 18 gold medal in Nairobi 2017 and the world under 20 silver medal in Tampere 2018.
Getnet Wale from Ethiopia will be aiming to win his first global medal after finishing fourth at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and at the World Championships in Doha 2019 and Eugene 2022.
Japanese record holder Ryuji Miura could break the African dominance. Miura finished seventh at the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2021 and set the national record with 8:09.91 at the Diamond League meeting in Paris Charlety last June.
The best European athletes in the field are Daniel Arce, who finished fourth at the European Championships in Munich last year and improved his PB to 8:10.63 in Paris Bercy, and Osama Zoghlami from Italy, European bronze medallist in Munich.