NAIROBI, Kenya, Dec 6 – After bagging silver in the World Half Marathon Championships in October this year, Kenya’s star Kibiwott Kandie went a notch higher after setting a new world record time of 57:32 in the 21km, following his win at the Valencia Half Marathon.
Kandie, 24, slashed 29 seconds from the previous record of 58:01 set by compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor in 2019.
It was a sweet victory for Kandie who condemned pre-race favourite, Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda to second in a time of 57:37 and avenge the defeat at the World Half Marathon Championships held in Poland.
Kenyan long-distance youngster, Rhonex Kipruto made it to the podium on his road race debut, finishing third after timing 57:49.
“I am feeling very grateful for running under 58 minutes on my debut. I will now gradually shift from track to half marathon, when the time comes for cross country I will compete as well same as on track,” Kipruto said after the race.
The assault of the world record was the target from the outset, with the leaders covering the opening five kilometres in 13:37 and 10 kilometres in 27:25, suggesting that a historic run was in the making.
Kandie, who was running his fourth half marathon of the year, began to push the pace in the 14th kilometre, bringing the leaders through 15 kilometres in 41:10, with Kipruto and Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda, the reigning world champion over the distance, on his shoulder. Over the next five kilometres Kandie and Kiplimo took turns with the lead until the 21st kilometre when Kandie made his decisive move.
In a race of unprecedented quality, the next three men also finished inside the previous world record.
Kiplimo was second in 57:37 with Kipruto third in 57:49. Kenyan Alexander Mutiso was fourth, clocking 57:59.
Genzebe Dibaba won the women’s race in 1:05:18, the fastest ever debut over the distance, beating Kenyan Sheila Chepkurui who came home second in 1:05:39.
“I am contented with my second position because it was not easy, it had strong athletes especially from Ethiopians led by Genzebe Dibaba and Sembere Teferi. Now I will go work on mistakes I picked today and prepare for cross country,” Chepkurui stated.
1 Kibiwott Kandie (KEN) 57:32
2 Jacob Kiplimo (UGA) 57:37
3 Rhonex Kipruto (KEN) 57:49
4 Alexander Mutiso (KEN) 57:59
5 Philemon Kiplimo (KEN) 58:11
6 Kelvin Kiptum (KEN) 58:42
7 Bravin Kipkogei Kiptoo (KEN) 59:37
8 Julien Wanders (SUI) 59:55
9 Carlos Mayo (ESP) 1:00:06
10 Gabriel Geay (TAN) 1:00:40
1 Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) 1:05:18
2 Sheila Chepkirui (KEN 1:05:39 3 Senbere Teferi (ETH) 1:05:51
4 Dorcas Tuitoek (KEN) 1:07:18
5 Emily Sisson (USA) 1:07:26
-Additional reporting by Wanjiku Mwenda from Valencia, Spain-