Kenya's Peres Jepchirchir won a third world half marathon title in Riga today ©Getty Images

Kenya won three of the six gold medals on offer at the inaugural World Athletics Road Running Championships in Riga, with women’s Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir earning a third world half marathon title - but there was a rare defeat for Faith Kipyegon in the new official road mile.

Kipyegon has set world records this season in the 1500 and 5,000 metres and the mile, but this outing over the latter distance in the Latvian capital saw her settling for third place as the 21-year-old Ethiopian she beat to the world 1500m title in Budapest, Diribe Welteji, earned a famous victory.

Welteji kicked clear of her Kenyan rival in the closing stages to win in 4min 20.98sec, which became the first official world record for this event - although, for comparison, the women’s record in New York’s traditional Fifth Avenue mile, set by Britain’s Laura Muir last year, is 4:14.8.

Kipyegon was also passed by Ethiopia’s Freweyni Hailu, who took second place in 4:23.06, with the 29-year-old Kenyan world and Olympic 1500m champion clocking 4:24.13 in what was her first defeat of the season.

Jepchirchir became the fourth woman to win a third world half marathon title after Kenya’s Tegla Loroupe, Britain’s Paula Radcliffe and the Netherlands’ Lornah Kiplagat.

The Kenyan, who had previously won this event in 2016 and 2020, suffered injuries last year but finished third in this year’s London Marathon and then won the Great North Run on September 10 in 66min 45sec.

Today the 30-year-old produced a characteristic late burst to take gold in 67:25.

She was followed home by compatriot Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi in 67:26, with Catherine Reline Amanang’ole completing a one-two-three for Kenya in 67:34.

"I wanted to win three times and make history, and thank God I have made it," Jepchirchir told World Athletics.

"Next month I’m going to run the New York City Marathon," she added, before making it clear that she will then target the retention of her Olympic title.

"That’s my prayer; I pray to God for good health to get that chance," she said.

Kenya’s women won the team title for the first time since 2016, with Ethiopia second and Great Britain and Northern Ireland claiming bronze.

The Kenyan team also dominated the men’s half marathon, with 28-year-old Sabastian Kimaru Sawe taking individual gold in 59:10 ahead of compatriots Daniel Simiu Ebenyo, who clocked 59:14, and Samwel Nyamai Mailu, who finished in 59:19.

Ethiopia’s Jemal Yimer Mekonnen was edged into fourth place on 59:22, followed by France’s Jimmy Gressier, who recorded 59:46.

The third Kenyan victory on a pleasantly sunny day came in the opening event of the Championships, the women’s 5km, where world cross country champion Beatrice Chebet proved triumphant.

The 23-year-old Kenyan clocked 14:35 for a time just six seconds off the women-only world record.

Compatriot Lilian Kasait Rengeruk, the 2017 world cross country bronze medallist, finished four seconds behind her, holding off Ethiopia’s Ejgayehu Taye, world record holder at this distance in a mixed race, by one second - 14:39 to 14:40.

The men’s 5km race saw Ethiopia’s Hagos Gebrhiwet earn a first senior global title ten years after victory in the under-20 race at the World Cross Country Championships.

The 29-year-old crossed the line in 12:59 ahead of fellow Ethiopian Yomif Kejelcha, who clocked 13:02, with Kenya’s Nicholas Kipkorir earning his first global medal as he took bronze in 13:16.

An open men’s mile race saw victory claimed by 20-year-old American Hobbs Kessler, who clocked 3min 56.13sec - also an inaugural world record for this event - after winning a sprint involving eight others.

Britain’s Callum Elson took silver in a personal best of 3:56.41, finishing just 0.02 ahead of Kessler’s compatriot Sam Prakel.

Again, as a point of comparison, the men’s record for the Fifth Avenue Mile, set in the first running in 1981 by home athlete Sydney Maree, is 3:47.52, with Britain’s world 1500m champion Josh Kerr just missing that mark this year with a win in 3:47.9.