The Carlsbad 5000 is billed as the fastest 5K in the world. Perhaps, but the current 5K road records have been set in elsewhere, not Carlsbad, California. For example the fastest 5K ever run was 12:49 in 2021 at the Cursa dels Nassos in Barcelona, Spain. It was Ethiopian Berihu Aregawi who clocked the record. In Sept. 2021 fellow Ethiopian Senbere Teferi clocked, in a women’s only race a 14:29 in a mixed men’s and women’s race it was Ejgayehu Taye — yet another Ethiopian — who ran 10 seconds faster at 14:19 also at Cursa dels Nassos in Dec. 2021.

Saying that, the Carlsbad 5000 fields are deep and the history is rich with great performances — it’s a festival.

The course records of 12:59 which was set by Kenyan Sammy Kipketer in 2000 and 14:46 by Ethiopian Meseret Defar in 2006. At one point these two performances were recognized as “world bests” before World Athletics (fmr, IAAF) began to qualify them.

In 2019, Kenyan Edward Cheserek won the men’s elite invitational in a time of 13:29, which equalled the official IAAF record set earlier that same year.

Other notable past winners include Eliud Kipchoge, Deena Kastor (Drossin), and Dejen Gebremeskel.[8]

Elite Invitational Prize Purse: 

Guaranteed Payout – Equal for Men & Women

1st – $5,000

2nd – $2,000

3rd – $1,000

American Record Bonuses

$2,500 – Men must beat 13:20*

$2,500 – Women must beat 14:50*

*Current records as of 10/6/2020

There are races for everybody, but the big one, to be eligable for elite status and invited you need to at least be faster than 14:00 for men and 17:00 for women.