Home > The Scene

Kibiwott Kandie shifts focus to 10,000m ahead of Tokyo Olympics

The half-marathon world record holder will transition to the track with the hopes of winning Olympic gold this summer

According to a report from Reuters, half-marathon world record holder Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya is dropping down in distance and moving to the track for the first half of the 2021 season. Kandie, who ran an incredible 57:32 half-marathon in Valencia in December, has said he believes he can win gold in the event. If he accomplishes this goal, he will become the first Kenyan to win the Olympic 10,000m in more than 50 years. 

Making history 

Kandie is no stranger to making history, so chasing gold shouldn’t be too daunting for him. He not only beat the previous half-marathon world record with his run in Valencia — he obliterated it. When he started the race that morning, the time to beat was 58:01, a result that belonged to Kandie’s compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor that looked like it would maintain its world record status for a long time. Then, Kandie did the unthinkable, becoming the first person to break 58 minutes for the half-marathon and beating Kamworor’s record by a whopping 29 seconds. 

RELATED: Kibiwott Kandie smashes half-marathon world record in Valencia, runs 57:32

Kandie also ran into the history books by posting four sub-59-minute half-marathon results in 2020. He only raced four times all year, winning three of the events and placing second at the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships in Poland. Based on last season alone, Kandie now owns the most sub-59 half-marathons in history, and he ran them all in a span of 11 months. At just 24 years old, he has already achieved so much, and he is still hungry for more. 

Who to beat 

For Kandie to win Olympic gold, he first has to make the Kenyan team for the 10,000m, which will be hard enough. Kenyans occupied seven of the 10 fastest 10,000m results run in 2020, all of which were well under the Olympic standard of 27:28.00. Not included on that list is Rhonex Kipruto, who set the 10K road world record of 26:24 last year. While Kipruto didn’t run a 10,000m in 2020, it’s unlikely that will be the case this year. 

RELATED: With Olympics just months away, skepticism persists

If Kandie does make the Kenyan Olympic team, his hunt for the 10,000m crown will only get harder when he gets to Tokyo, where he will have to face off against Uganda’s reigning world champion and current world record holder Joshua Cheptegei. Cheptegei ran the world record of 26:11.00 in October 2020, and he will be chasing gold medals in the 5,000m-10,000m double this summer.