Monday Moment: Weini Kelati Enters Into Penn Relays History


Eight years ago, Weini Kelati arrived at the Penn Relays. 

That was 2016. Just two years into her high school tenure at Leesburg Heritage (VA), Kelati, a native of Eritrea, had announced herself as one of the country's top runners, having won Foot Locker Nationals the previous December. 

Entered in the 3,000m, she had her sights on the meet record of 9:15.3, which had last been accomplished in 1985. Kelati separated from the field by a lap and then dialed up from there, pushing until the final gun to win in 9:19.91. 

That time, while fourth-best at the time, is now fifth-best in history for a high school girl at the Penn Relays. In 2022, Angelina Perez jumped up to No. 3 all-time with her 9:18.11. 

Let's talk about today. 

Kelati, 27, has since gained her citizenship to the U.S. and continues to flourish in the senior ranks. The former NCAA cross country and 10K champion for New Mexico scored an Olympic 10K standard in June at the TEN, posting a time of 30:33.82 and set an American record for the half marathon in January in 1:06.25.

This weekend, Kelati was the top American at the World Cross Country Championships in Belgrade, Serbia, finishing 15th overall. 



Photo Credit: Don Rich/MileSplit

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