Press Room

Published by: Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon
Category: Race News
Tue 29 Jan, 2019

The World's Fastest Half Marathon is back in Ras Al Khaimah!

The World’s Fastest Half Marathon is back in Ras Al Khaimah!

The thirteenth edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon once again promises fierce racing and quick times, with breath-taking men’s and women’s fields lining up for the race on 8th February. The race which statistically can claim to be the world’s fastest half marathon, is this year to be staged partially on the brand-new man-made Al Marjan Island complex, possibly an even faster circuit than in previous years.

The bar has been set incredibly high in the last two editions of the Ras Al Khaimah event, as last year Bedan Karoki of Kenya retained his title from 2017 (59:10), storming to a 58:42 clocking and leading six others under sixty minutes, while fellow Kenyan Fancy Chemutai missed the three-month-old women’s world record by one second with her 64:52 clocking in a memorable clash with legendary Mary Keitany.

Topping this year’s men’s line-up is Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis, who at just 20 last October, was third at the Valencia Half in 58:44, in only his second outing over 21.1km. His fabulous track times at 5,000m and 10,000m plus his Cross Country pedigree, single him out as a genuine all-round racer, and if his 2018 form on road and track is maintained, he will be the one to beat.

Behind the young Ethiopian however, on times at least, is a host of top Kenyans and fellow Ethiopians, covering between them an enticing mix of youth and experience. Jorum Okombo is one of the former, placing fourth last year (59:36) when just 20, but with a 58:48 best when runner-up in Copenhagen 2017. Despite a string of fast times over the last two years, he has yet to win a half marathon, so perhaps arrives a little hungrier than most.

The experienced Alex Korio has been consistently under the magical 60-minute barrier in recent years, while fellow Kenyan Daniel Kipchumba, after winning his debut half in Italy last April, went on to win the Copenhagen Half last September in 59:06, and was again under the hour in New Delhi in October.

While not yet a sub-60 minute performer, much attention will be focused upon Switzerland’s latest road sensation Julien Wanders. Spending much of the year training in Kenya, the 22 year old set a 27:25 European 10km record in Paris on December 30th, and with his 60:09 half marathon best last February, is perfectly poised to become just the fifth European ever to break the one hour mark.

The Women’s race, so sensational last year, promises equal drama. The 2017 champion Peres Jepchirchir, in a then world record of 65:06, returns from becoming a mother, and while she may struggle to match the dramatic consistency of her 2016 racing year and the subsequent world record in Ras Al Khaimah, there is justifiable excitement about her return to the big time.

Equally keenly anticipated, is the appearance of reigning world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia, who’s win in Valencia last March not only gave her global gold but was a Women’s Only World Record. The yawning winning margin behind her and the fact that she won all three of her half marathon contests in 2018, and furthermore can boast remarkable consistency over the last four years, suggests there is more to come.

A first home win is possible through the UAE’s own Alia Mohammed Saeed, who’s best time of 66:13 came in her debut and so far only outing over 21.1km, in Valencia last October; she was a close runner-up there and her three wins out of three in road 10km races last year, suggest her competitive instincts are finely honed.

Trying to stop her, will be a brace of former youngsters from her former home in Ethiopia. Although only 20 last June, Zeineba Yimer ran five half marathons in 2018, each of them of high quality, and they included a fine fifth place at the world championships in March (68:07), followed by a brace of much quicker runs in September’s Copenhagen race (66:21 pb) and New Delhi (66:59). Not having raced since that latter outing in October, should see her in fresh and ready-to-race mood. Throw in Degitu Azimeraw who also has just one half marathon to her name, and the challenge is clear. The winner of her first international race in Kolkata, a 25km just over a year ago, she was sixth in Ras Al Khaimah last year, her one and only half marathon ever, in a fine 66:47, to place just outside the world top ten for the year.

With larger mass entry numbers than ever before, the thirteenth edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, promises the usual comprehensive mix of supreme elite racing, a joyous running experience for the thousands behind them, and quick times for all on the new circuit which has very negligible rise throughout its entire length.

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

Alia Mohammed Saeed

UAE

66:13

Daniel Kipchumba

KEN

59:06

Zeineba Yimer

ETH

66:21

Stephen Kiprop

KEN

59:21

Senbere Teferi

ETH

Debut

Fikadu Haftu

ETH

59:22

Degitu Azmeraw

ETH

66:47

Amedework Walelegn

ETH

59:22

Delvine Meringor

KEN

67:48

Benard Ngeno

KEN

59:22

Valary Jemeli Aiyabei

KEN

67:50

Edwin Kiprop Kiptoo

KEN

59:28

Naom Jebet

KEN

68:22

Abel Kipchumba

KEN

59:29

Etagegn Woldu

ETH

69:20

Lelisa Desisa

ETH

59:30

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

Alex Korio

Alia Mohammed Saeed

Jorum Okombo