NOT TO TAKE ANYTHING AWAY from all the fine athletes involved, but the ongoing late-season crush of fast distance times continues to buttress the question, “How much of it is the shoes?” A synopsis of end-of-year international road goings-on:
Kandie Destroys Half-Marathon WR
Valencia, Spain, December 06—To anybody who gaped over Geoffrey Kamworor’s reduction of the half-marathon World Record by 17 seconds in September of ’19, Kibiwott Kandie’s answer in Valencia (December 6) amounted to a metaphorical, “Here, hold my drink.”
The 24-year-old Kenyan—silver medalist at the World Half-Marathon Champs who came in with three sub-59:00 times on the year—knocked 29 seconds off Kamworor’s 58:02 standard and had to fend off world champion Jacob Kiplimo and two others who might have claimed the WR had Kandie faltered. Behind the winner’s astounding 57:32, Ugandan Kiplimo (57:37) and Kenyans Rhonex Kipruto (57:49) & Alexander Mutiso (57:59) claimed all-time marks Nos. 2–4. Philemon Kiplimo (Kenyan, no relation to Jacob) clocked in at 58:11, history’s No. 6 time.
After Kipruto’s younger brother Brayvin Kosgei set a scorching early pace—13:37 through 5K, 27:25(!) through 10K—6 men hammered on together. 15K went by in 41:10 with 5 still in it and then the following 13:33 split including a Kandie surge to the solo lead in the 18th kilo at last divided the group.
Jacob Kiplimo was far from done and caught up to Kandie around 19K. The world champ briefly took the lead as he motored past 20K in 54:42 (18 seconds under the world best) with Kandie a second back.
Kandie still had go in his legs, though. And how! He passed Kiplimo to cover the last 1097m to the finish in 2:49—58.0 lap pace for 2¾ circuits were he to have been running on a track.
“I was very motivated for this race after losing at the World Half-Marathon,” Kandie said. “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.’”
The contest was also a win for adidas in the “super shoes” arms race. Kandie wore the German firm’s new Adizero Adios Pro, which looks to be every bit as much a performance booster as Nike’s armament.
In her half-marathon debut, Ethiopian track standout Genzebe Dibaba, also shod in adidas, won the women’s race in 65:18 from Kenyan Sheila Kiprotich (65:39).
Emily Sisson’s 67:26 in 5th improved her hold on No. 2 on the U.S. all-time list, missing Molly Huddle’s American Record by just a second.
Valencia Half Results
Men—1. Kibiwott Kandie (Ken) 57:32 WR (old WR 58:01 Geoffrey Kamworor [Ken] ’19);
2. Jacob Kiplimo (Uga) 57:37 NR (2, 2 W) (54:42—faster than unofficial WR of 55:00); 3. Rhonex Kipruto (Ken) 57:49 PR (3, 3 W); 4. Alexander Mutiso (Ken) 57:59 PR (4, 4 W); 5. Philemon Kiplimo (Ken) 58:11 PR (6, 6 W);
6. Kelvin Kiptum (Ken) 58:42 PR; 7. Bravin Kipkogei (Ken) 59:37 PR; 8. Julien Wanders (Swi) 59:55; 9. Carlos Mayo (Spa) 60:06 PR; 10. Gabriel Gerald Geay (Tan) 60:40.
(leader pace: 13:37, 13:48 [27:25], 13:45 [41:10], 13:32 [54:42], 2:50]
(best-ever mark-for-place: 1–6)
Women—1. Genzebe Dibaba (Eth) 65:18 PR (debut); 2. Sheila Kiprotich (Ken) 165:39 PR; 3. Senbere Teferi (Eth) 65:51; 4. Dorcas Tutoek (Ken) 67:18;
5. Emily Sisson (US) 67:26 PR (AL) (2, 2 A).
Valencia Marathon Rewrites Year Lists
At the Valencia Marathon Evans Chebet and Peres Jepchirchir led a revival of the recent flood of boggling times that had stalled since COVID-19 gripped the world early this year.
On an all-time list basis, Jepchirchir’s 2:17:16, history’s No. 5 performance, topped the bill. Effecting a 6:34 improvement of her PR, the world half-marathon champ ran away from Joyciline Jepkosgei with a knockout 15:53 split in the 35–40K segment. Her margin over ’19 NYC winner Jepkosgei was 1:24 as 4 others also broke 2:20: Helaria Johannes (2:19:52 Namibian Record), Zeineba Yimer (2:19:54), Tigist Girma and Degitu Azimeraw (both 2:19:56).
Chebet, 32, cut 2 minutes from his best as he kicked away to a 4-second win from Kenyan compatriot Lawrence Cherono on the carpet runway to the finish, 2:03:00–2:03:04. Chebet moved to No. 6 on the ATL and the race placed 5 atop the year list: including Berhanu Legesse (2:03:16), Amos Kipruto (2:03:30) and Reuben Kiprop (2:04:12). All set PRs.
Valencia Marathon Results
Men—1. Evans Chebet (Ken) 2:03:00 PR (WL) (6, 7 W); 2. Lawrence Cherono (Ken) 2:03:04 PR (7, 9 W);
3. Berhanu Legesse (Eth) 2:03:16 (x, =13 W); 4. Amos Kipruto (Ken) 2:03:30 PR (11, 15 W); 5. Reuben Kiprop (Ken) 2:04:12 PR; 6. Gelmisa Chalu (Eth) 2:04:53 PR; 7. Abel Kirui (Ken) 2:05:05; 8. Abebe Degefa (Eth) 2:05:15; 9. Leul Gebrselassie (Eth) 2:05:29; 10. Philemon Rono (Ken) 2:05:37; 11. Oqbe Kibrom Ruesom (Eri) 2:05:53 NR; 12. Ayad Lamdassem (Spa) 2:06:35 NR; 13. Felix Kandie (Ken) 2:06:47; 14. Hamid Ben Daoud (Spa) 2:07:03 PR; 15. Abdi Nageeye (Neth) 2:07:09.
(best-ever mark-for-place: =3, 4, 8-15)
Women—1. Peres Jepchirchir (Ken) 2:17:16 PR (WL) (5, 5 W);
2. Joyciline Jepkosgei (Ken) 2:18:40 PR; 3. Helaria Johannes (Nam) 2:19:52 NR; 4. Zeineba Yimer (Eth) 2:19:54; 5. Tigist Girma (Eth) 2:19:56; 6. Degitu Azimeraw (Eth) 2:19:56; 7. Ruti Aga (Eth) 2:20:05; 8. Joan Chelimo (Ken) 2:20:57 PR; 9. Birhane Dibaba (Eth) 2:23:07; 10. Fancy Chemutai (Ken) 2:24:27 PR.
(best-ever mark-for-place: 6–8)
Fast Halves In New Delhi
New Delhi, India, November 29—It’s no accident of nature that blistering road times were once again the story at a major international. This time, the New Delhi Half-Marathon featured the No. 2 women’s performance ever, as Ethiopia’s Yehualaw Yalemzerf scorched a 64:46 for the win over World Champs marathon gold medalist Ruth Chepngetich, who moved into the all-time top 8 with her 65:06.
Yalemzerf, who won the bronze at October’s World Champs Half, didn’t break away till the final 2K “This was more than I expected,” she said. “My plan was to push hard with two kilometers to go and that helped my fast time, and it was also very nice weather.”
Marathon WR holder Brigid Kosgei ran with the lead pack until she limped off to a DNF clutching her leg in the eighth kilo.
A close finish highlighted the men’s contest, with the top 3 within 3 seconds of each other. Amdework Walelegn of Ethiopia edged teammate Andamlak Belihu 58:53–58:54, with Uganda’s Stephen Kissa 3rd in 58:56.
New Delhi Results
Men—1. Amdework Walelegn (Eth) 58:53 PR; 2. Andamlak Belihu (Eth) 58:54 PR; 3. Stephen Kissa (Uga) 58:56 PR; 4. Muktar Edris (Eth) 59:04 PR; 5. Leonard Barsoton (Ken) 59:10; 6. Tesfahun Aklnew Guangul (Eth) 59:22 PR; 7. Victor Kiplangat (Uga) 59:26 PR; 8. Shadrack Korir (Ken) 59:51; 9. Abrar Osman (Eri) 60:10; 10. Avinash Sable (Ind) 60:30 NR.
(best-ever mark-for-place: 4–5)
Women—1. Yehualaw Yalemzerf (Eth) 64:46 PR (2, 2 W); 2. Ruth Chepngetich (Ken) 65:06 PR (=8, =9 W);
3. Yeshaneh Ababel (Eth) 65:21; 4. Irene Cheptai (Ken) 66:43 PR; 5. Tsehay Gemechu (Eth) 67:16; 6. Eva Cherono (Ken) 67:18 PR; 7. Nazret Weldu (Eri) 69:47 PR; 8. Mimi Belete (Bhr) 69:50; 9. Gudeta Bekelech (Eth) 69:54. □