Athletes gear up for final race of WMM series

Kibiwott Kandie

Kenya’s world half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie fields media questions at the Media Centre at Central Park, New York,on November 4 ahead of this weekend’s New York City Marathon.

Photo credit: Elias Makori | Nation Media Group

What you need to know:

  • He reckons he will not be cowed down by big names like Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia who will also compete in Sunday’s race.

This season’s Abbott World Marathon Majors series ends on Sunday with the New York City Marathon.

It has been an action-packed season, with all the marathon majors being held in October and November, with the exception of Tokyo Marathon which was cancelled.

World Half Marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie is among athletes who will line up for Sunday’s race that will start at Staten Island and take  runners through Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx before ending in Manhattan’s Central Park.

Athletes and those participating in the mass race must provide proof of at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, or a negative Covid-19 test taken within 48 hours of the race.

New champions will be crowned this year because winners of 2019  races Geoffrey Kamworor and Joyciline Jepkosgei have opted out.

Kandie, who is making his debut in the annual race, believes he has prepared adequately for the race.

He broke the world half marathon record in Valencia last year in a winning time of 57 minutes and 32 seconds, breaking earlier record of 58:01 held by Geoffrey Kamworor. Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo (57:37) came second, followed by Kenya’s Rhonex Kipruto (57:49).

It was sweet revenge for Kandie who finished behind Kiplimo in the World Half Marathon Championships at the same venue last year.

On Sunday, Kandie will draw inspiration from his record-breaking run.

“This is a new thing for me. I don’t have experience in the 42km race but I hope to run a beautiful race because. I have trained well,” said Kandie.

He draws inspiration from world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge.

“Top athletes have always inspired me to run well. My mentor is Eliud Kipchoge whom I hope to emulate one day. I switched to the marathon mode three months ago and my training has gone well,” Kandie, who runs under Gianni Demadonna Sports Management, said.

“I want to be an all-round athlete, knowing too well that I still need to compete in track races. My hopes of competing in 10,000m race at the Olympics didn’t go well because I had a knee injury but I still believe I have a lot to offer in track races ,” said Kandie, who won the Geneva 10km road race last month.

He reckons he will not be cowed down by big names like Kenenisa Bekele of Ethiopia who will also compete in Sunday’s race.