When organisers of the Valencia Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP announced the high calibre field they had attracted for their 6 December event, expectations were high that an assault on Geoffrey Kamworor’s 58:01 world record would be a very real possibility.
After all, the field included an impressive ‘big three’: Jacob Kiplimo, the freshly-minted world champion for the distance; Kibiwott Kandie, the silver medallist at the world championships behind the Ugandan; and Rhonex Kipruto, who broke the world 10km road record in Valencia in February.
The trio did not disappoint. Out fast from the gun, the trio blazed through five kilometres in 13:37 and 10 in 27:25, well ahead of world record pace and well on their way to the finest half marathon race of all time. In the end it was Kandie who controlled much of the race’s latter stages and eventually prevailed, powering to a stunning 57:32 performance to smash the previous record by a mind-boggling 29 seconds.
Kiplimo, second in 57:37, Kipruto, third in 57:49 and fourth-place finisher Alexander Mutiso, who clocked 57:59, all ran faster than the previous world record. Indeed, running in near-ideal conditions, those four men redefined the limits of the 21.1 kilometre race.
“You could say this race (in Valencia) was revenge,” said Kibiwott, who smashed the world mark in his fourth half marathon of the year. “After the world championships, I went home, and I have been focusing on this race ever since.
“I was very motivated for this race after losing at the World Half Marathon. At that race, I pushed a lot but Kiplimo won so I said to myself ‘In Valencia, I have to beat Kiplimo and break the world record’.”