The Valencia Half Marathon Trinidad Alfonso EDP aims to become the world’s fastest race in 2021. Top runners will take to the streets of the Spanish city, known as the Ciudad del Running on Sunday 24th October.
Last year Kenya’s Kibiwott Kandie set the world record in the men’s race with 57:32 in an outstanding competition, where four athletes ran under the 58 minutes barrier.
In the women’s race Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey will make her debut over the half marathon distance. Gidey returns to Valencia, where she broke the world record in the 5000m clocking 14:06.62 at the Valencia World Record Day in October 2020. Gidey improved Sifan Hassan’s world record in the 10000m with 29:01:03 in Hengelo last June and set the 15 km world record with 44:20 in Nijmengen in November 2019, breaking the previous time held by Joyciline Jepkosgei by more than one minute. She could become the first athlete to break to set a world record on the debut over the 21 km distance.
On the track the 23-year-old Ethiopian runner won the world silver medal in Doha 2019 and the Olympic bronze medal in Tokyo 2021 in the 10000m.
Gidey will face her compatriots Yalemzerf Yehualaw, Senbere Teferi and Genzebe Dibaba.
Yehualaw won the world half marathon bronze in Gdynia in October 2020 and clocked a sensational 1:03:44 at the P&O Feries Coast Half Marathon in Antrim last August, although this time will not be ratified as a world record.
Gidey and Yehualew will target the world record of 1:04:32 set by Ruth Chepngetich in Istanbul last April.
Teferi set a PB of 1:05:32 in the Valencia Half Marathon in 2019 and won the world silver medals at the World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang and in the 5000m at the World Championships in Beijing in 2015. Teferi recently set the 5 km world record clocking 14:29 in Herzogenaurach last September.
Genzebe Dibaba won the Valencia Half Marathon setting her PB of 1:05:32 in 2018. Dibaba broke the 1500m world record with 3:50.07 in Monaco in 2015 and won the world outdoor title over this distance in Beijing a few weeks later. The Ethiopian star also won the Olympic silver in the 1500m in Rio de Janeiro 2016 and a total of five world indoor titles (three in the 3000m in Sopot 2014, Portland 2016 and Birmingham 2018 and two in the 1500m in Istanbul 2012 and Birmingham 2018).
The line-up also features Hailu Feysa, who improved her PB to 1:05:41 in Copenaghen last September, Kenyan runners Sheila Chepkirui, who finished runner-up in Valencia last year in 1:05:39 and Brenda Jepleting, who holds a PB of 1:06:52.
Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto will return to the Spanish city, where he finished third in 57:49 in last year’s edition of the Valencia Half Marathon. Kipruto won the world under 20 gold medal in the 10000m in Tampere 2018 and the world bronze medal over the same distance in Doha 2019. Kipruto set the 10 km world record with 26:24 in Valencia on 12 January 2020 and clocked 26:43 over this distance in Herzogenaurach last September.
Kipruto will take on two-time 5000m world champion Muktar Edris from Ethiopia, who ran his only half marathon race in 59:04 in New Dehli in 2020. Edris set his 3000m PB clocking 7:30.96 in Szekesfehrvar last July and won the Giro al Sas 10 km race in Trento for the fourth time in his career on 2 October.
The field features four Kenyan runners with a PB under 59 minutes: Philemon Kiplimo, fifth in Valencia last year with 58:11, Kelvin Kiptum (58:42 a Valencia nel 2020), Abel Kipchumba (58:48 in Herzogenaurach in 2021) and Felix Kipchumba (58:57 in Berlin in 2021).
The best European runners are former European marathon record holder Sondre Moen from Norway and Carlos Mayo from Spain, who won the European Under 23 gold medal in the 10000m in 2017.
Pacemakers are set to get through the 10 km mark in 27:30 with the target of a sub-58:00 finish time.
The organisers will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Valencia Half Marathon together with 12000 fun runners from 87 countries.
Marc Roig, manager of the international race of the Valencia Half Marathon, said:
“Olympic years always have a special atmosphere, but the calendar does not stop and the half marathon has other crowns to share out. They want them, both those who triumphed in Tokyo and those who fell short. That’s why dreaming about the world record is possible and desired”.