Press Room

Published by: Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon
Category: Race News
Thu 07 Feb, 2019

New champions to be crowned at 13th Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

With neither champion from 2018 returning for Friday’s 13th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, the scene is set for two enthralling races, and bearing in mind the strength in depth, both men’s and women’s contests are perhaps harder to predict than for several years.

The new course, a third of which is on the mainland and the rest on the wide sweeping turns of Al Marjan Island - in fact a man-made peninsular leading to a series of four spectacularly shaped islets – offers the separately starting men’s and women’s elite fields every chance to set new event records, and obviously to establish high calibre new course records.

With the men’s leading group scheduled to be led off by pacers at 58:30 tempo – tantalisingly close to the 15-week old world record of 58:18, set by Abraham Kiptum in Valencia, last October – there is no doubting the ambition of the event to keep challenging for more. At just 21, Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis already has little to prove, bearing in mind his track pedigree and best of 58:44 for the half marathon, but this will be just his third outing at the 21.1km distance and there is good reason to believe he can improve markedly on that time from Valencia last October. His compatriot Fikadu Haftu plans to go with this lightning fast tempo, and perhaps exorcise the frustrations of an injury-ravaged 2018 after his 59:22 best, again in Valencia, in 2017.

Close behind them, the second group, including Switzerland’s new European road 10km record holder Julien Wanders (27:25 in Paris last December), plans to stick to a 59:00 pace; only 1-2 seconds per kilometre slower, but tiny margins make big differences when performing at such a furious speed. The European half marathon record (currently Mo Farah’s 59:32 from Lisbon 2015) is within his reach, while Kenyans Jorum Okombo, Stephen Kiprop and Abel Kipchumba will be among those keeping him company.

For their part, the women are just as keen to prove they can threaten the quickest times in history. No less than five pacemakers, spread at different tempos, will guide them round and with Fancy Chemutai having missed the world record by just one second last year, the organisers are determined to ensure no late-sighting of the finish line can be blamed this time around; there are markers indicating each 100m to go from 500m out.

Starting fifteen minutes before the elite men and mass field, great intrigue surrounds the return of 2017 world record breaker here, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya. Returning after childbirth and still only 25, she ran a low-key marathon last November in Eldoret, to shed new-mother curves, but believes she is in “around 67-minute shape, possibly faster”.

More confident of their current ability though with contrasting degrees of experience, are reigning world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta and debutante Senbere Teferi, both of Ethiopia. Gudeta set a women-only world record in Valencia last March, along with taking the global crown, while Teferi bizarrely is world class from 1500m to marathon but has never run a half marathon. They plan to set off at a speed close to 65:00 schedule, each having brought a personal pacer along.

With the strong north-eastern winds of Wednesday dissipating through Thursday and the breeze swinging to an off-shore, lighter south-easter, conditions look to be ideal for the record-size fields. Whether records result, Ras Al Khaimah is unlikely to be anything but the usual perfect setting for a fine day of racing in the early morning sunshine. The race can be watched in its entirety online by going to the event website: www.rakmarathon.org

 

ELITE FIELDS FOR THE RAS AL KHAIMAH HALF MARATHON 2019

NAME

NAT

PB

NAME

NAT

PB

Abadi Hadis

ETH

58:44

Peres Jepchirchir

KEN

65:06

Jorum Okombo

KEN

58:48

Netsanet Gudeta

ETH

66:11

Alex Korio

KEN

58:51

Zeineba Yimer

ETH

66:21

Daniel Kipchumba

KEN

59:06

Senbere Teferi

ETH

Debut

Stephen Kiprop

KEN

59:21

Paskalia Kipkoech

KEN

67:17

Fikadu Haftu

ETH

59:22

Degitu Azmeraw

ETH

66:47

Amedework Walelegn

ETH

59:22

Delvine Meringor

KEN

67:48

Edwin Kiprop Kiptoo

KEN

59:28

Valary Jemeli Aiyabei

KEN

67:50

Abel Kipchumba

KEN

59:29

Naom Jebet

KEN

68:22

Lelisa Desisa

ETH

59:30

Etagegn Woldu

ETH

69:20

Morris Gachaga

KEN

59:36

Mule Wasihun

ETH

59:44

Kaan Kigen Ozbilen

TUR

59:58

Asefa Tefera

ETH

60:07

Julien Wanders

SUI

60:09

Gabriel Geay

TAN

60:26

Sisay Lema

ETH

62:06

     


Photos

Netsanet Gudeta

Abadi Hadis

Peres Jepchirchir

Julien Wanders

The 13 Sub 60 Men