Kandie, Obiri back
World half marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie will be out for the treble during the 40th edition of the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) Cross Country Championships set for Friday at the Moi Air Base.
A lot has really changed for Kandie since winning the title at the Laikipia Air Base this time last year.
He returns to the battle ground as the national cross country champion having upset former world half marathon record holder Geoffrey Kamworor at the nationals last year. He has eye-catching international titles as well.
The world record holder of 57:32 set in Valencia on December 6 is also the world half marathon silver medallist after his exploits on October 17 in Poland.
“Last year was my best year by far. The KDF Championships prepared me for the season and what a season it was,” the 25-year-old reflected.
Having conquered the Kahawa Garrison in 2019, stamped his authority at Laikipia Air Base, the Embakasi-based soldier is hoping to dominate at Moi Airbase on Friday.
“Well, a treble is what I am looking at. Victory will once again give me the edge to tackle my season.
There are the nationals and the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the United Arab Emirates races coming up. My main target is to defend both titles,” he declared.
Last year at the Laikipia Airbase, he clocked 28:59.53 to win the title ahead of Alfred Barkach and Phenus Kipleting who timed 29:04.47 and 29:11.96 to settle for second and third places respectively.
“I know it will not be easy, but I want to run my race and go for the title,” remarked Kandie.
In the women’s category, World Cross Country winner Hellen Obiri will be out to reclaim the women’s title.
Obiri, the two-time World 5,000m champion, will be representing Laikipia Airbase and is hopeful of taking her fifth title.
In her absence last year, Joyce Chepkemoi carried the day in a time of 34:07.02.
Dorcas Kimeli (33:08.12) with New York marathon Champion Joyceline Jepkosgei settling for third in 33:10.06.
Besides the trio, Obiri will also face stiff opposition from Sheila Chepkirui and Urine Kimais.
Obiri who won the opening leg of Athletic Kenya Cross Country Series on November 28 in Machakos says her target is reclaiming the KDF title.
“I missed last year’s event because I was unwell. This year my target is to fight for the title on Friday," said Obiri whose first title for the military was in 2014 before making it three in a row between 2017 and 2019.