Justin Lagat, our senior writer in Kenya, wrote this preview as he is traveling in North America! 

Newly crowned world champion Sebastian Sawe of Kenya will be a man to watch this weekend on the streets of Valencia, Spain. The silver medalist from the women’s race, Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi, will feature in the women’s race.

After his fellow countryman, Daniel Ebenyo had opened up a great gap in the closing stages of the half marathon championships race in Riga on 1st October, Sawe had strongly come from behind, and all that Ebenyo could do was to salute him and watch as he ran past to win the World title.

The fact that Ebenyo participated in the New Delhi half marathon and won it comfortably on the weekend should boost Sawe’s confidence as he tackles a deep field on Sunday.

The 28-year-old, who has remained unbeaten on the roads this year will be up against a tough field that includes Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya who holds the course record at 57:32, Yomif Kejelcha of Ethiopia with a personal best time of 58:32, Kenya’s Matthew Kimeli with 58:43, Ethiopia’s Tadese Worku with 58:47 and Hagos Gebrhiwet with 58:55, among others.

Three weeks after winning the world half marathon silver medal at the Riga World Road Running Championships, Kenya’s Margaret Chelimo Kipkemboi will be in action as well in the women’s race.

Chelimo had lost the title by a small margin to her compatriot Peres Jepchirchir, who successfully achieved a hat-trick for the half marathon world title.

With the world record of 1:02:52 having been set on this course by Ethiopia’s Letesenbet Gidey in 2021, it will be interesting to see whether Kipkemboi will be able to improve her personal best of 1:05.26. European record holder Melat Kejeta of Germany has the fastest time of 1:05:46 on the start list. Other sub-1:06 women on the start list include Gotyom Gebreslase of Ethiopia (1:05:36) and Tsigie GEbreselama (1:05:46).

Many exciting and fast road races have usually happened in Valencia, and this weekend should not be an exception.