PORTLAND, Ore. — Moh Ahmed shattered his own Canadian record in the 5,000 metres on Friday, becoming the 10th fastest man to ever run the distance.
Racing in front of an empty grandstand, the 29-year-old from St. Catharines, Ont., ran 12 minutes 47.20 to win the Portland Intersquad Meet, bettering his previous mark of 12:53.16 set last summer in Rome.
Ahmed also crushed the previous North American record of 12:53.60 set by North American record set by Bernard Lagat in 2011.
"This would not be possible without you, my people," Ahmed posted on Instagram. "Thank you. Preciate cha."
The only thing missing Friday night was fans. The race was held in an empty stadium due to COVID-19, with just a handful of athletes in the infield cheering them on.
But the track and field community celebrated Ahmed's feat on social media Saturday.
"My head still hurts thinking about how fast that is," Canadian middle-distance star Gabriela DeBues-Stafford posted on Twitter.
Canadian marathoner Reid Coolsaet tweeted: "In the last few years @Moh_Speed has been very impressive on the track. But his 12:47 5000m puts him on a whole other level. North American Record, top 10 all-time in the world! (When Moh was born the WR was 12:56)."
Former American distance star Shalane Flanagan, who now coaches with Ahmed's Portland-based Nike Bowerman Track Club, posted on Instagram: "When you get a group of individuals mutually invested in one another, Magic happens. Iron, sharpens Iron. (Friday) night we had athletes run performances I never thought I would see.
"Great work by our team @bowermantc to pivot goals and dreams in an exceptionally hard year. The forced racing innovation have led to some beautiful moments and brought us closer together."
Ahmed's blistering time was the latest in a list of world-class accomplishments for the runner who was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, and moved to Canada at the age of 11.
Last fall, he won bronze in the 5,000 at the world track and field championships in Doha, Qatar.
He became the first Canadian to dip under the 13-minute mark when he broke his previous 5,000 record last summer.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 11, 2020.