Kamworor tipped as heir to Half Marathon legend Tadese

Kamworor was not named iTeam Kenya to Saturday's World Half Marathon Championships in Gdynia, Poland.

In Summary

•Kamworor won the World Half Marathon Championship three times in a row

•Zersenay Tadese is a five-time half marathon championship, earning the tag "Mr Half Marathoner"

•Kamworor suffered a freak motorbike accident in June and has had minimal time to reach optimal fitness 

Geoffrey Kamworor at Ngong Race Course/ By Erick Barasa
Geoffrey Kamworor at Ngong Race Course/ By Erick Barasa

Geoffrey Kamworor has been tipped by World Athletics to succeed Eritrean Zersenay Tadese as the greatest half marathoner of all time. 

The three-time World Half Marathon championship winner is one of three Kenyans listed as the top five 21km legends, including  National Olympic Committee of Kenya president Paul Tergat and former world women's marathon  record holder Tegla Loroupe. The other two athletes are Eritrean Tadese and former world women's marathon record holder, Briton Paula Radcliffe. 

“If Tadese is commonly regarded as the greatest half-marathoner of all-time, then Geoffrey Kamworor could be poised as the man to dislodge him of the title. Kamworor has captured the last three titles over the distance,” according to  World Athletics.

Known as "Mr Half Marathoner", Tadese is credited for his lung-bursting runs that earned him five world half marathon titles - a record yet to be broken in successive years. 

"Physiologically gifted – tests found he required much less oxygen per kilometre than many of his contemporaries. He set two world records over the distance, including his 58:23 mark set in Lisbon in 2010 which stood for eight years," the article says. 

If Kamworor is to fulfil the World Athletics' prediction, then he needs to add two more World Half Marathon titles to his name. 

Kamworor’s reign in the race began in 2014 in Copenhagen, where he clocked 1:00.02,  a feat he bettered two years later in Cardiff when he clocked 59:10 to cross the finish line. His victory in Cardiff was impressive considering that he had slipped at the onset of the race, which cost him 15 seconds. 

His last victory in the championships came in 2018 although he won the New York Marathon in 2019 with a time of 2:08:13. His exploits notwithstanding, the Chepkorio-raised Kamworor will not be part of six-man Team Kenya to the 24th edition of the championship.

The Kenyan team, comprising Kibiwott Kandie, Morris Munene, Bernard Kipkorir, Bernard Kimeli and Leonard Barsoton, will depart for the seaside town of Gdynia on Thursday.

The women's team includes former world marathon record holder, Joyciline Jepkosgei, world Half Marathon record holder Peres Jepchirchir,  Dorcas Jepchumba, Brillian Jepkorir and Rosemary Wanjiru.  

It has been a tumultuous year for Kamworor after a freak motorbike accident in June left him in need of minor surgery at St Luke’s Hospital in Eldoret.

He will, however, be hoping to redeem himself with a top finish at next year's World Cross Country Championships in Bathurst, Australia.