RAK Half Marathon Celebrates Another All-Star Lineup

The Hollywood blockbuster film franchise known for its speed and excitement, “Fast and Furious,” will see its 8th installment later this year. However, 2016 marks the 10th edition of its road running equivalent, the RAK Half Marathon, set for Friday, February 12th.

Since its premiere in 2007, the RAK Half Marathon has consistently attracted top-tier distance runners from around the globe. The prestigious race has served as a stepping stone for many athletes to achieve greater heights in their careers.

Notable Performances

The inaugural RAK race was highlighted by a stunning victory from a talented Kenyan runner who went on to win the Olympic Marathon in Beijing the following year. Fast forward nine years, and this year’s lineup boasts some of the best talents in the world, with six elite men having run under 59 minutes and eight elite women having broken the 68-minute mark.

Men’s Elite Field

Leading the men’s race is an elite runner from Eritrea, the reigning world record holder and one of the greatest half marathon runners in history. His impressive time of 58:23, set six years ago, remains formidable, though his recent 59:24 in New Delhi indicates a return to form.

Another standout is a Kenyan runner, ranked third fastest all-time with a 58:41 run in San Diego, albeit on a slightly downhill course. His recent 2:09 marathon in Fukuoka provides a more current indication of his form.

A notable challenge is expected from a 23-year-old who clocked 58:48 in 2014 and was the fastest in the world last year with 59:10. His recent 10km personal best of 27:35 suggests he has the speed to contend for the win.

Watch out for the Kenyan marathoner who finished second at RAK in 2013 and later won the New York Marathon. With a personal best under 59 minutes and several major half marathon victories, he is a strong contender.

The Eritrean runner isn’t the only one with podium aspirations. Another athlete from Eritrea, who finished second at RAK in 2014 with a 59:39, will also be in the mix.

Women’s Elite Field

The women’s race at RAK has been exceptional, with winning times since 2009 consistently ranked among the top three globally each year. This 10th edition promises to continue that trend with three women having broken 67 minutes.

The field includes a world and Olympic marathon silver medalist known for her consistent performances. Despite a disappointing finish in the New York Marathon last October, she remains a strong contender with victories in major half marathons.

The reigning World Half Marathon Champion aims to continue her successful streak. After a stellar year that included a 2:20 marathon in Dubai and a 66:38 half marathon in Istanbul, she is poised for another strong performance.

Another notable competitor is a Commonwealth Champion and recent Amsterdam Marathon winner, with a half marathon personal best of 66:19.

Emerging Talent

Watch for emerging East African talent, including a young Kenyan runner who recorded the fastest 10km of 2015 and finished third in New Delhi with a 68:36.

Ethiopia brings experienced runners aiming to challenge Kenyan dominance, including a Prague Half Marathon winner and a former world cross-country silver medalist.

Bib Numbers and Personal Bests

Men:

  1. Zersensay Tadese (ERI) – 58:23
  2. Abraham Cheroben (KEN) – 58:48
  3. Stanley Biwott (KEN) – 58:56
  4. Wilson Kipsang (KEN) – 58:59
  5. Micah Kogo (KEN) – 59:07
  6. Bernard Koech (KEN) – 59:10
  7. Leonard Komon (KEN) – 59:14
  8. Birhanu Legese (ETH) – 59:20
  9. Simon Cheprot (KEN) – 59:20
  10. Edwin Kiprop Kiptoo (KEN) – 59:26
  11. Edwin Kipyego (KEN) – 59:30
  12. Nguse Amlosom (ERI) – 59:30
  13. Martin Mathathi (KEN) – 59:48
  14. Emmanuel Bett (KEN) – 60:08

Women: 52. Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) – 65:45

  1. Joyce Chepkirui (KEN) – 66:19
  2. Gladys Cherono (KEN) – 66:38
  3. Cynthia Limo (KEN) – 66:41
  4. Worknesh Degefa (ETH) – 67:14
  5. Peres Jepchirchir (KEN) – 67:17
  6. Aselefech Mergia (ETH) – 67:21
  7. Wude Ayalew (ETH) – 67:58
  8. Genet Yalew (ETH) – 68:12
  9. Rose Chelimo (KEN) – 68:22
  10. Gladys Chesir (KEN) – 68:36
  11. Doris Changeywo (KEN) – 68:49

Like a thrilling Hollywood release, this year’s RAK Half Marathon promises twists, drama, and outstanding performances as elite runners vie for victory in the sunshine of Ras Al Khaimah. The legacy of this premier event continues to grow, setting the stage for more remarkable moments in the years to come.

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