Legese and Limo Shine at the RAK Half Marathon

Birhanu Legese and Cynthia Limo proved they are currently the best half marathon runners in the world with their respective victories at the 10th anniversary edition of the RAK Half Marathon.

For 22-year-old Ethiopian Legese, it was a repeat of his sprint finish tactics seen in Berlin and Delhi last year, leading to another major victory over 13.1 miles. He stayed with the pack throughout the race and then out-sprinted the 2015 New York Marathon winner Stanley Biwott, both finishing with a time of 60:40.

Cynthia Limo capitalized on excellent pace setting in the women’s race to pull away from reigning World Half Marathon Champion Gladys Cherono in the final kilometer. Limo’s winning time of 66:04 was a massive personal best, placing her 3rd on the all-time list behind only Florence Kiplagat and Mary Keitany. Cherono’s 66:07 finish places her 4th on the all-time list in a race of exceptional quality. The first six women broke 67 minutes, with five recording personal bests, reinforcing RAK’s status as the world’s fastest half marathon.

Legese Leaves it Late

Much of the pre-race focus in the men’s race was on Wilson Kipsang. The former marathon world record holder, who has twice finished on the podium in RAK, was back to assess his shape ahead of his quest for a third London Marathon title in April. Stanley Biwott, confident after his win over Geoffrey Kamworor in the New York Marathon last October, was also a key contender.

Breezy conditions led to a steady pace for the opening kilometers, with Kipsang making his presence felt early on. A large group passed through the first 5km in 14:29 and 10km in 29:11. The pace finally picked up, with Edwin Kiptoo among those trying to turn it into a competitive race. By 15km, Kipsang had drifted over half a minute off the pace, finishing 11th in 62:16.

Kiptoo maintained the pressure, but Legese, employing the same tactics that won him the Delhi Half Marathon in November, remained patient. Biwott attempted to break away, but Legese’s sprint in the last 100 meters was decisive. Training 200km a week, Legese currently prefers the half marathon but may eventually be tempted by the marathon’s lucrative opportunities.

Limo Sparkles with a Stellar Performance

In the women’s race, much of the attention was on Priscah Jeptoo, seeking her second RAK title after her 2014 victory. However, she is still regaining form after a leg fracture nearly two years ago. Gladys Cherono, the World Half Marathon Champion, was in confident mood before and during the race.

The pacemaker set a 66-minute pace, and a sizable group followed despite the breezy conditions. Early on, 25-year-old Ethiopian Worknesh Degefa looked aggressive, but a group of 12 passed through 5km in 15:49, right on course for a sub-67 finish. By 10km, reached in 31:32, the leading seven had picked up the intensity. Jeptoo eventually fell off the pace, finishing 8th in 68:04.

Cynthia Limo, who improved her personal best to 66:41 last month in Houston, took control in the final stages. Cherono stayed close but could not overtake Limo, who finished in 66:04, with Cherono just three seconds behind in 66:07. Genet Yalew set a new Ethiopian national record, finishing third in 66:26.

This race further solidifies the RAK Half Marathon’s reputation as the world’s fastest, with six of the top eight official women’s half marathon times being recorded here. The 10th anniversary edition was indeed one to remember.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Explore More

Which Betting Companies Back Marathons, in South Africa?

Which Betting Companies Back Marathons, in South Africa?
0 tags

Several betting companies in South Africa actively support marathons and other running events through sponsorships betting options and promotional activities. Here are some of the known companies involved; These bookies

Athlete Reaches Full Power

Athlete Reaches Full Power
0 tags

The first elite athlete to arrive in Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) for the Emirate’s annual half marathon this Friday (February 10th) is an Ethiopian runner, renowned for holding the world

RAK Half Marathon Will Be Fast – Again!

RAK Half Marathon Will Be Fast - Again!
0 tags

What makes the RAK Half Marathon stand out among many running events in the Middle East and beyond is its commitment to staging a race with a deep field of