By Jonathan Gault
September 28, 2020
Geoffrey Kamworor may not be defending his World Half Marathon title next month, but that doesn’t mean we’re not going to see the 27-year-old half marathon world record holder in action this fall.
According to Kamworor’s agent Valentijn Trouw, Kamworor initially had two races in mind he wanted to pursue this fall. Then Kamworor was hit by a motorcyle during a training run in June, suffering injuries to his head and tibia, the latter of which required surgery. After the accident — which caused Kamworor to miss three weeks of training — Kamworor decided it would be too difficult to pursue both races and elected against running the World Half, which is scheduled for October 17 in Gdynia, Poland.
“When he had the accident, then we quite soon after said let us not risk anything,” Trouw said. “It is better to go for one thing in a good way then try to rush now and take the risk that you have some setbacks.”
That leaves just one question: what race will Kamworor run this fall?
Trouw said he couldn’t reveal that just yet.
“You have a clever mind, so you can think yourself,” Trouw said. “I can assure you that there is a nice goal in his head and he is training for it.”
So let’s put our thinking caps on. Thanks to COVID-19, the serious racing options this fall are pretty limited. The first, most obvious possibility, is the meet in Valencia next week in which Joshua Cheptegei will attempt to break the 10,000-meter world record. With a personal best of 26:52 and a silver medal from the 2015 World Championships, Kamworor has a solid background over that distance. The event is being organized by the NN Running Team — of which Kamworor is a part. And when the race was announced on September 3, Cheptegei’s manager Jurrie van der Velden teased that there would be a big-time addition to the field worthy of “special attention.” Stewart McSweyn and Shadrack Kipchirchir have both since been added to the field, but Kamworor is a bigger star than either and would certainly be worth of “special attention.”
While it would be terrific to see Kamworor vs. Cheptegei in Valencia, the more we think about it, the less optimistic we are. Kamworor is still on the mend after the accident in June, and if his decision was between the World Half and the 10,000 in Valencia, the World Half makes way more sense. Not only is it his best distance — he’s the three-time defending champion — but it’s also 10 days after the 10,000 (scheduled for October 7), which would give him more time to prepare. And that seems important, considering Trouw said Kamworor has yet to return to full running in training.
“He’s recovering really well and has built in some wonderful alternative training,” Trouw said. “Geoffrey is extremely fit at the moment. Condition-wise, he’s in very good shape. The only thing is that he needs more running in the body. He really did some very nice cycling training.”
So if Kamworor isn’t doing the 10,000, what else is there? Well, how about another world record attempt in Valencia?
The Valencia Marathon is still scheduled to go ahead as an elite-only race on December 6. There is also a half marathon scheduled for that weekend. And in a press release three weeks ago, Valencia said “there will be a team of elite athletes who will approach the world records for both distances.”
That seems a far more likely option. It’s an event that will be set up for athletes to run very fast, and it gives Kamworor almost 10 weeks from now to get fully back to running. It’s possible Kamworor, a two-time New York City Marathon champion, could run the full 26.2 in Valencia, but the guess here is he’ll do the half and try to lower his own world record and in the process become the first man under 58 minutes (his pb is 58:01).
Discussion: Where will Kamworor Race in 2020? Give your opinion on the forums.