Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie will return to action at the same venue where he set the previous world half marathon record on the 6th of December 2020. However, his long-time rival over the distance, Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, shed one second off this record last year, and Kandie could be here to reclaim it.
Valencia has recorded six of the top ten fastest times in the half marathon distance. This is enough proof that it is arguably the fastest course in the world.
The Valencia course also holds the women’s world record of 1:02:52 that Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey ran in October last year.
Kandie will lead two other runners in the top ten of the all-time best half marathon runners in history; Kenya’s Sebastian Sawe (58:02) and Daniel Mateiko (58:26).
Although he has not been so dominant this year, Kandie, who ran 26:50 to win a 10K race at an Adidas event and finished 2nd at the one-hour run in Brussels, knows the Valencia course very well and what he can achieve on it. “I have been very focused on this race for the last two months. It is possible that I will get closer to the record times,” Kandie said at the press conference.
Sawe is relatively new to the half marathon event but is in great form this year, having run his personal best time in March to win the Roma Ostia half marathon. He has also run a fantastic 26:54 for the 10K to finish second at the April Adidas Road to Records event.
24-year-old Mateiko has yet to win a major race in the recent past but has been so close to doing it this year, having finished second in the 5000m event at the Kip Keino Classic World Athletics Continental Tour event also second at the N Kolay Istanbul Half marathon. He gets another chance to break the jinx this weekend in Valencia.
Ethiopia’s Yomif Kejelcha, who ran his personal best time of 59:05 on the same course in 2019, will be the other top name to watch out for in the men’s race. “I will try to give the best of me and assault the national record of Ethiopia. Winning the race is very difficult, because the best are here, as you can see Kandie,” Kejelcha said. Other leading contenders will be Kennedy Kimutai (58:28), Rodgers Kwemoi (58:30), and Milkesa Mengesha (58:58). There are a total of eleven runners who have run under one hour for the half marathon.
European fans will be curiously watching Julien Wanders of Switzerland to see if he will lower his European record of 59:13 that he set at the RAK half marathon in 2019. Wanders also holds the Area record for the 10K event at 27:13 which he set in Valencia two years ago.
The women’s field is equally competitive with eight women having their personal best times below one hour and seven minutes.
Kenya’s Vicoty Chepngeno is the fastest with 1:05:03, a time he ran this year at the Houston half marathon in January. The second-fastest, Margaret Chelimo, also ran her personal best time of 1:05:26 earlier this year in Barcelona. Chepngeno has a faster PB, but Chelimo is the more decorated with a recent world bronze medal in the women’s 10,000m from the Oregon World Championships.
“Because it is the best half marathon in the world, I am going to give my best. I hope to achieve a better time than in Barcelona,” Chelimo said.
Hawi Feysa (1:05:41) and Bosena Mulatie (1:05:46) are the other sun 66 minutes runners in the field.
There will also be some interesting debuts by Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku and Germany’s Konstanze Klosterhalfen. “I’m coming to Valencia to see how far I can run, to see how fast I can run,” Klosterhalfen said.