Former world half marathon record holder, Kibiwott Kandie defended his title at the 17th edition of Valencia Half Marathon, held on Sunday (22) in Valencia, Spain.
The 27 year-old who broke the World Half Marathon record on this course three years ago with a time of 57:32, faced a stiff challenge from the 2019 World 10,000m silver medallist, Yomif Kejelcha who came to this race with the second fastest time of 58:32 which is Ethiopia’s National record, Rio Olympics 5000m bronze medallist, Hagos Gebrhiwet and Tokyo Olympics 10,000m champion Selemon Barega. The three set a blistering pace, fueling anticipation of a potential world record.
The thrilling encounter saw Kandie out-sprint the two Ethiopians, Kejelcha and Gebrhiwet at the final stages of the race, all of whom had aspirations of breaking the 57:31 world record.
Kibiwott took the honors in third fastest time in the world of 57:40, just nine seconds shy of the World record mark and was followed by Kejelcha in a new personal best of 57:41 with Gebrhiwet wrapping up the podium three finishes in a new life time best of 57:41.
The 2016 U20 World and the 2017 U18 World Champion, Barega was forced to settle in fourth place with the reigning World Road Running Half Marathon champion, Sebastian Sawe from Kenya coming home in fifth in respective time of 57:50 and 58:29.