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Early celebration proves costly in San Silvestre de Sao Paulo race

Sao Silvestre Kibiwott Kandie Jacob Kipligo

Kenyan runner Kibiwott Kandie (front) crosses the finish line to win the 95rd 15-km Sao Silvestre international race in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on December 31, 2019. (Photo by Miguel SCHINCARIOL / AFP) (Photo by MIGUEL SCHINCARIOL/AFP via Getty Images)

AFP via Getty Images

Ugandan teenager Jacob Kiplimo was just a couple of steps away from winning the 95th San Silvestre de Sao Paulo Road Race road race on Tuesday in Sao Paulo and was set to break the record set by Paul Tergat. He raised his arms in celebration as he took his last strides.

But then Kibiwott Kandie suddenly appeared alongside, also raising his arms in celebration, then hit the finish line half a stride ahead of Kiplimo and keeping the record in Kenyan hands.

Kandie is the first person to break the 43-minute mark in the 15k race, crossing the line in 42:59. Kiplimo’s time was 43-flat.

Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei won a far less dramatic women’s race, finishing in 48:54. Kosgei smashed the marathon world record 11 weeks ago in Chicago.

The popular annual race, which has inspired other Saint Silvester’s Day races in Spain and Portugal, has attracted strong fields for several decades. Tergat’s record run in 1995 was the first of five wins for the five-time cross-country world champion and two-time Olympic silver medalist, who would also hold records in the marathon, half-marathon and 10,000 meters over the course of his career.

Kiplimo also seems poised to threaten records over his career. Last year on New Year’s Eve, Kiplimo won the San Silvestre Vallecana in Madrid in 26:41, handily beating the race record held by Eliud Kipchoge, for whom Kiplimo would serve as a pace-setter when the the Kenyan broke the two-hour marathon mark.

The time from last year was faster than the then-world record of 26:44, held by Kenyan Leonard Patrick Komon, but the race was downhill and therefore not eligible for record consideration. Joshua Cheptegui officially broke the record earlier this month in Valencia with a time of 26:38.

Kandie took his third major road race win of the year, all in personal-best times. In August, he won a half marathon in Lille in 59:31. Last month, he won a 10k in Casablanca in 27:56.

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