British and world all-time half-marathon ranking lists are set for revision in the Spanish city on Sunday
Fresh from his best-ever cross-country run when placing fourth at the Cardiff Cross Challenge last weekend, Emile Cairess heads to Spain this weekend with a number of Brits all looking to revise their PBs for 13.1 miles.
The Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso Zurich on Sunday (Oct 23) features a flat, fast course. It is so quick, in fact, that both the men’s and women’s world records have been set there in the last couple of years.
In 2020 Kibiwott Kandie ran a world best of 57:32 whereas last year Letesenbet Gidey clocked the still-standing women’s mark of 62:52.
Cairess, who equalled Mo Farah’s British 10km record earlier this year, will be hoping to revise his half-marathon best of 61:16 from Ghent in March. Now coached by Renato Canova, he is looking to make a marathon debut next year. Although for starters after this weekend’s half-marathon he will be targeting the European Cross Country Championships in Turin in December.
“Cardiff was the last hard session before Valencia so I hope to run a fast time there,” he says. “It’s maybe the fastest half-marathon (course) so I’d like to knock something out there. I have an idea what time I want to run but I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself. I just want a good hard run.”
The British record is held by Mo Farah with 59:32 from Lisbon with Callum Hawkins the second-fastest Brit of all-time with 60:00 set in Japan in 2017. Hawkins also runs in Valencia this weekend although he is returning from injury and not in the same form he was five years ago.
Further Brits in action include Mahamed Mahamed, Jack Rowe, Paulos Surafel and Adam Clarke. Samantha Harrison will also hope to build on her superb summer and her PB of 68:12 – from Berlin earlier this year – which places her seventh on the UK all-time rankings.
The Brits face formidable opposition in Valencia, though. Kandie returns to the scene of his world record-breaking run and leads the men’s field from Sebastian Sawe, a 58:02 man from Kenya, while fellow countrymen Daniel Mateiko, Kennedy Kimutai and Rodgers Kwemoi have also run inside 58:30. Kandie’s world record from Valencia 2020 has also since been improved marginally to 57:31 by Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda.
Yomif Kejelcha, meanwhile, will be attacking Jemal Yimer’s Ethiopian record of 58:33. Watch out as well for Tadese Worku, who won the world under-20 3000m title last year and holds the Ethiopian 10km record with 26:56.
“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 pre-event press conference on Friday.
There is a cloud under Kenyan distance running at the moment following a spate of doping positives, but Valencia looks set to be dominated by athletes from the east African nation.
Vicoty Chepngeno is the quickest in the women’s line-up courtesy of her 65:03 from Houston earlier this year, whereas another Kenyan, Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, has a PB of 65:26 and a world 10,000m bronze medal to her name from Eugene this year.
READ MORE: Kenyan ‘pandemic’ of drug positives
Added to this are Ethiopia’s Hawi Feysa (PB 65:41), European 10,000m champion Yasemin Can of Turkey and European 5000m gold medallist Konstanze Klosterhalfen of Germany, which means Sifan Hassan’s European record of 65:15 could be under threat.
“I’m coming to Valencia to see how far I can run, to see how fast I can run,” said Klosterhalfen, who is making her half-marathon debut.
The event starts 8.25am local time and is streamed at the official event website
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