Last Sunday an astonishing feat was achieved in the world of sport in Valencia, Spain. Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya ran a half-marathon for the first time under 58 minutes. What’s more, not just Kandie, three more runners ran the race under 58 minutes and broke the world record.
Kandie ran the race in 57.32 minutes breaking compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor’s record, set just in September 2019, by an incredible 29 seconds. Along with Kandie three other runners too broke the world record. Jacob Kiplimo of Uganda finished second in 57.37 minutes followed by Kenyans Rhonex Kipruto (57.49) and Alexander Mutiso (57.59). Four runners smashing the world record in the same event is indeed a rare occurrence.
But these path-breaking achievements have another interesting side story — shoes. Kandie used the new Adidas Adizero Adios Pros shoes, which are supposed to have five carbon-infused energy rods. These rods are supposed to mimic the metatarsal bones of the feet. This is the first time Adidas has come up with these special shoes that assist long-distance runners. So far it was Nike which had taken the lead coming up with Nike ZoomX Dragonfly spikes, which have a carbon plate and unique foam, and the Vaporfly and Alphafly range. The Alphfly shoe was used by Eliud Kipchoge last year when he ran the first ever sub-2 hour Marathon, though the record is not officially recognised as it was run in “controlled conditions”.
These special shoes have raised questions in recent times over whether athletes get an unfair advantage due to superior technology. These shoes were banned until World Athletics overturned it recently. But there is a rider — these new hi-tech shoes can be used in all races except in World Athletics series and Olympic games. This rider is curious to say the least as these shoes should either be banned completely or allowed in all races and competition.
But till the time these knotty issues are settled, we can tip our hats to Kandie and the other three runners for their feats. For the cricket-obsessed Indians these records may not mean much. But for the running junkie, it’s indeed a new high.