Seventeen of twenty one starters were born in East Africa, a familiar situation for long distance events. Here the Kenyan team of Rhonex Kipruto and Rodgers Kwemoi took to the front to keep the pace honest with returning silver medalist Joshua Cheptegei, the heir apparent after the track retirement of Mo Farah, ever present at the front. By the 5,000 metre mark at 13:33.20 (27:07 pace), only 10 had fallen off the back. Nine more laps, Cheptegei took over the point and only two more fell off the back, though Hagos Gebrhiwet, Yemaneberhan Crippa and Lopez Lomong were just hanging on and soon to go. Behind Cheptegei, the 19 year old Kipruto and the tall figure of the new indoor mile record holder Yomif Kejelcha looking like he was waiting to unleash that shorter distance speed. After Mohammed Ahmed fell off the back with 500 metres to go, the group was still five, single file, with Cheptegei driving the train. Running through traffic at the bell, Kwemoi and Andamlak Belihu couldn't keep up and it looked like the medalsts were decided. Down the final backstretch, Kejelcha moved tight onto Cheptegei's shoulder then into a slight lead. The gap left Kipruto running for bronze. As they entered the final turn Cheptegei kept Kejelcha on his outside, while he ran the shorter distance along the rail. Coming off the turn, Cheptegei had the speed, separating slightly but continually from Kejelcha, growing to a 5 metre lead by the finish.