RAK Half Marathon Will Be Fast - Again!

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 elite runners and producing very fast times. This IAAF Silver Label event, held in Ras Al Khaimah near the northern tip of the UAE, has made significant strides since its inception four years ago.

Elite Field and Competition

While many races focus on attracting big names for time trials, the RAK Half Marathon team has consistently gathered a strong field of fast athletes, making it one of the world’s top events. The men’s field has often grabbed the headlines, but this year, eyes are on a standout athlete from Turkey, who, after winning two silver medals at the Beijing Olympics, is now competing in her first half marathon.

In a relaxed mood before the race, this 27-year-old runner, who trains with a small group in Addis Ababa, discussed the possibility of setting a world record. Given her track record, including a world record for the 5,000m and a top-five all-time performance in the 10,000m, her debut over 21.1km could be spectacular. Her recent increase in training volume might just give her the edge needed.

Record Attempts

To break the half marathon world record (1:06:25 set by Lornah Kiplagat in 2007), she will need to maintain a demanding pace, hitting 10km in 31:20 and 15km in 47:00. Although challenging, her superior 10,000m speed makes it a feasible goal. Even if she doesn’t set a new record, a fast time would highlight a solid winter of training as she prepares for the European Championships in Barcelona.

Joining her in the early stages will be Hilda, a Dutch athlete aiming to break her personal best of 1:09:43 from 2007. Her recent performance over 10 miles suggests she can improve by several minutes.

Men’s Competition

On the men’s side, a recent withdrawal by one top contender has been offset by the addition of another strong performer, who won the NYC Half Marathon last August with a time of 60:45. The RAK Half Marathon organizers have demonstrated their ability to stage a strong race, even without the massive funding seen in other regional events.

RAK Half Marathon Elite Line-ups

Men’s Elite Field:

  • Deriba Merga (59:15)
  • John Kiprotich (59:23)
  • Geoffrey Mutai (59:30)
  • Stephen Kibiwott (59:37)
  • Jairus Chanchima (59:43)
  • Moses Arusei (59:44)
  • Fabiano Joseph (59:56)
  • Lelisa Desisa (59:59)
  • Tadesse Tola (60:45)

Women’s Elite Field:

  • Dire Tune (1:07:18)
  • Aselefech Mergia (1:07:48)
  • Caroline Cheptanui (1:08:16)
  • Atsede Habtamu (1:08:29)
  • Mare Ibrahimova (1:08:45)
  • Magdalene Mukunzi (1:08:52)
  • Rosaria Console (1:09:34)
  • Hilda Kibet (1:09:43)
  • Meseret Mengistu (1:09:45)
  • Agnes Kiprop (1:09:54)
  • Debutante Runner from Turkey

Further Information:

The RAK Half Marathon, an IAAF Silver Label Race and a full member of the Association of Marathons and Distance Running (AIMS), will be held on 19 February 2010. Premier Marathons, established in 2001, are the lead organizers of the RAK Half Marathon.

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