Kibiwott Kandie (This photo was downloaded from the Facebook page of the event in Valencia and is being used here for representation purpose. No copyright infringement intended)

Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya set a new men’s world record at the Valencia Half Marathon held on December 6, 2020.

He covered the distance in 57 minutes and 32 seconds. The previous record of 58:01, set in 2019, was held by Kenya’s Geoffrey Kamworor. At Valencia, Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo finished second in 57:37; Rhonex Kipruto of Kenya was third in 57:49.

Media reports said that the race progressed at a blistering pace with Kandie moving into the lead at kilometer 18. Kiplimo kept pace with him and briefly led but was overtaken on the final stretch. According to Runner’s World, Kandie averaged 4:23 pace for the 13.1 miles.

The women’s half marathon was won by Ethiopia’s Genzebe Dibaba.  She clocked 65:18. Second place went to Sheila Chepkirui of Kenya (65:39) and third place to Senbere Teferi of Ethiopia (65:51).

In the women’s marathon at Velancia, Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir emerged winner covering the distance in 2:17:16. She was followed to the finish by Joyciline Jepkosgei of Kenya (2:18:14) and Helalia Johannes of Namibia (2:19:52). The men’s marathon was won by Evans Chebet of Kenya. He finished in 2:03:00. Lawrence of Kenya placed second (2:03:04) and Ethiopia’s Birhanu Legese third (2:03:16).

Prior to the competition in Valencia, Kandie, 24, had placed second at the 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships held in Gdynia, Poland (it was held in October). According to Wikipedia’s page on him, in 2019, he had finished first at the Saint Silvester Road Race (15 kilometers) in Brazil and won the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in UAE and the Prague Half Marathon in Czech Republic.

Following the Valencia Half Marathon, The Guardian noted in a report on December 6 that while most distance records have been set in Nike shoes, “  Kandie was wearing the new Adidas Adizero Adios Pros, which contain 39mm foam as well as five tuned carbon-infused ‘energy’ rods that mimic the metatarsal bones of the foot.’’ Although approved by World Athletics (last year the agency brought out specifications for shoes that can be used in competition), these new models – a trend pioneered by Nike – have been the subject of debate for sporting high amount of foam and carbon implants. 

The British newspaper also mentioned that on December 6, World Athletics reversed its ban on prototypes, saying shoe companies could use them in all races except the World Athletics series or Olympic Games (please see the post At a Glance / December 2020 on this blog for a report quoting the World Athletics press release on the subject).

(The author, Shyam G Menon, is a freelance journalist based in Mumbai.)

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