Kandie returns to Valencia where he set a World Record

Kibiwott Kandie wins 10,000m men race during the AK Track and field events at Nyayo national stadium on February 27, 2021. [Stafford Ondego, Standard]

Tomorrow, Kibiwott Kandie will be lining up at the Valencia Half Marathon in a majestic return to the course where he sensationally smashed the world record in the distance two years ago.

The former half marathon record holder will be leading a stellar cast of top road racers, taking not only the 57:32 time he set in 2020 on the same course, but a top form.

In November last year at the Lisbon Half Marathon, Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, who is the World Half Marathon champion, lowered the world record by one second, setting it at 57:31.

Kandie, a world half marathon silver medalist is making a comeback in tomorrow’s half marathon after a knee injury that kept him out of major competitions since last year when he pulled out of the national trials for the Tokyo Olympic Games.

With the top shape, observers say he could be keen to lower the world record mark.

Organisers had earlier this month hinted that the strong field assembled for the 2022 edition is fashioned for a world record pace. Last year, Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey broke the women’s world record after crossing the finish line in 1:02:52.

“World records cannot be achieved every year, and Valencia’s level featuring the world’s second best record for males and the world record for females means we should demand a lot but not pressure ourselves with new world records. But I am convinced that the quality of the elite that will run this half-marathon will be news around the world again thanks to its high standards,” Marc Roig, recruiter of the Valencia Half Marathon international elite, said on October 7.

Kandie will be running alongside compatriots Sebastian Sawe with a 58:02 personal best and Daniel Mateiko (58:26). The trio are race favorites in the race expected to be one of the toughest in history.

Sawe stormed to a historic win at the the 47th edition of the Roma Ostia Half Marathon in Italy in March this year, and expunged the race’s 58:44 course record that had previously been set in 2016 by Solomon Kirwa Yego. He lowered it to 58:02.

Sawe set the new course record of 58:02 and was followed by Ethiopian Diriba Gemechu Dida who crossed the line in a time of 59:21.

Rodgers Kwemoi who outclassed Kandie at the National Cross championships in January will also be challenging the former world record holder for the Valencia 21km title tomorrow.

Daniel Mateiko on the other hand is returning to Valencia where placed third last year.

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