RAK Half Marathon: Exceptional Depth, Missed Opportunities

The 8th RAK Half Marathon showcased an incredible depth of talent, with Ethiopian Lelisa Desisa winning the men’s race in 59:36 and Priscah Jeptoo of Kenya triumphing in the women’s race with a time of 67:02. Both champions were preparing to defend their titles in Boston and London respectively, and their performances have set the early world rankings for the year. However, despite the promising outcomes, there was a pervasive sense of “what if” among observers due to the slow initial paces.

Men’s Race Highlights

The men’s race began slowly, with the first 5km covered in 14:31. The pace picked up significantly after this, with the next 5km split being 14:01, reaching 10km in 28:30. The race’s intensity continued to increase, with the leading pack reaching 15km in 42:38. Despite the late surge, the opportunity for super-fast times had already been missed. Lelisa Desisa eventually broke away with 3km to go, securing victory in 59:36, followed closely by Nguse Amlosom who finished in 59:39. Wilson Kiprop rounded out the top three with a time of 59:45.

Women’s Race Highlights

In the women’s race, Priscah Jeptoo dominated, showing the form that won her the New York Marathon the previous year. After a slow start, the pace quickened significantly, with Jeptoo covering the 5km to 10km segment in 15:27. She maintained this pace, reaching 15km in 48:08 and 20km in 63:43. Jeptoo finished in 67:02, a massive 71 seconds ahead of her nearest competitor, Flomena Cheyech, who finished in 68:13. Guteni Shone finished third with a time of 68:31.

Key Takeaways

Despite the slow starts, both races delivered exciting finishes. However, the ideal conditions and the enhanced course routing suggested that even faster times were possible. The men’s race, in particular, suffered from a lack of early aggression, which might have resulted in even better performances. The women’s race, led by Jeptoo’s impressive acceleration, still showcased exceptional performances despite the initial pacing issues.

Top 10 Men’s Results

1Lelisa DesisaETH14:3228:3142:3956:4059:36
2Nguse AmlosomERI14:3228:3042:3956:4059:39
3Wilson KipropKEN14:3128:3042:3956:4559:45
4Bernard KoechKEN14:3128:3042:3856:4359:46
5Bernard KipyegoKEN14:3228:3142:3956:4559:47
6Micah KogoKEN14:3128:3042:3956:4559:49
7Feyisa LilesaETH14:3228:3142:3956:4559:51
8Paul LonyangataKEN14:3228:3142:3956:4459:54
9Jacob KendagorKEN14:3128:3043:1658:111:01:27
10Ibrahim JeilanETH14:3128:3143:1958:231:01:47

Top 10 Women’s Results

1Priscah JeptooKEN17:1432:4148:081:03:431:07:02
2Flomena CheyechKEN17:1432:4548:411:04:451:08:13
3Guteni ShoneETH17:1432:4648:481:05:031:08:31
4Helah KipropKEN17:1432:4548:461:05:071:08:36
5Rita JeptooKEN17:1432:5248:591:05:101:08:49
6Mare DibabaETH17:1432:5949:061:05:201:08:56
7Feyse TadeseETH17:1432:5949:241:05:531:09:19
8Aberu KebedeETH17:1432:5249:081:05:531:09:22
9Worknesh DegefaETH17:1532:5949:071:05:541:09:43
10Caroline KilelKEN17:1433:1349:581:06:531:10:33

The RAK Half Marathon continues to be a race of remarkable performances and unexpected turns, promising even greater achievements in future editions.

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