Justin Lagat writes about the Valencia HM, which will be held on 6 December 2020…
Races that usually have two runners with a recent history of exciting finishes between them fuels the desire to watch them compete again. The rivalry between Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo and Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie has slowly been building up on the road races and the Valencia half marathon race organizers may have seized the opportunity to provide fans with a great race to watch by inviting the two runners for their December 6th event.
Kandie made a name for himself when he sneaked behind Uganda’s Olympic athlete, Kiplimo at the 15km Sao Silvestre race in Sao Paulo, Brazil in December last year. As Kiplimo began to raise his hands in celebration at the finish line, Kandie dashed beside him and broke the tape.
The two runners faced each other again at the world half marathon championships in Gdynia where Kandie had perhaps broken away too early in the race and Kiplimo later caught up with him in the last stages of the race. Kiplimo won the championship title in a new championship record of 58:49 as Kandie followed him for a silver medal at 58:54.
However, with the presence of other runners who have run under 59 minutes for the half marathon including Bedan Karoki and Stephen Kiprop, it is not going to be an obvious battle between Kandie and Kiplimo. There is also the young star to watch out for; Rhonex Kipruto who will be debuting.
The elite entry list for the women appear shorter than the men’s, but with some of the world’s best track and road runners that promises an exciting race as well.
Both world record holders for the indoor and outdoor 5000m; Gensebe Dibaba and Letesenbet Gidey will make their debut at the half marathon distance. Gidey in particular is arguably in her best form having just set the new 5000m world record recently. The question is whether her 5000m form will be good for the half marathon distance.
Senbere Teferi and Dorcas Tuitoek are the two most accomplished half marathon runners in the race with their personal best times of under 67 minutes.