Rak half marathon 2015_media_guide from Alberto Stretti


RACE WILL START FRIDAY EARLY MORNING AT 7am LOCAL...4am CET...3am GMT...10pm ET..7pm PT... (pls note for american times will be of course on thursday night )


The question, in the last days before this year's RAK Half Marathon, after eight years of consistent record-breaking and astonishingly fast elite racing, should perhaps not be “Will it be a good day?”, but “How great a day will it be?”. Last year, eight men broke the one hour mark while nine women went under seventy minutes. And for this year's race on Friday 13th February, the course is faster still.
The men's favourite is Kenya's Eliud Kipchoge, who at just 18, became 5,000m world champion in 2003. Almost 12 years later, he is a formidable road racer, with three wins out of his four marathon starts and a half marathon best of 59:25 which is due for significant revision. In 2014, just his second season at the marathon, he won both Rotterdam and Chicago marathons. For many, the question now is just how much faster can he go?
Against him will be a field as strong as any seen at RAK before, including other top Kenyans such as Jonathan Maiyo (PB 59:02), another of vast experience like Kipchoge, making his RAK debut; Peter Kirui (59:22), able to boast world class times from 10,000m to Marathon, and who won the Prague Half Marathon last year - he too has never raced on something as fast as RAK; Cyprian Kotut (59:12) has the best recent form with that fourth-place time coming in New Delhi last November; and Daniel Wanjiru (59:58) - no relation to the 2007 RAK Champion (and sadly deceased) Sammy Wanjiru – who is only 22 but has shown the capacity to go much faster. For the Ethiopians, Mosinet Geremew is a real danger, third in last November's New Delhi Half in 59:11. Throw in 2014 Dubai winner Tsegaye Mekonnen (61:39) and Abera Kuma (60:19) who took third in the Berlin Marathon last September in 2:05.56, and it's clear there'll be many personal bests as well as an unofficial Kenya v Ethiopia match of titanic proportions.
On the women's side too, there is an abundance of riches – no more so than in the tiny figure of Mary Keitany, the second fastest half marathon runner in history and outstanding favourite to take her third RAK title. It was in 2011 that this (now) mother of two tore around the RAK circuit to set a new world record of 65:50 retaining her title in 2012 (66:49). She later finished fourth in the London Olympic Marathon when a few weeks pregnant, but after taking 2013 out, returned to racing last year, destroying everyone she met in her three races, most notably winning the Great North Run in 65:39 and then the New York Marathon last November.
Facing Keitany, will be defending RAK champion Priscah Jeptoo, another able to boast astonishing consistency. Second in 2013 (66:11), the same year she won the London and New York Marathons, she won RAK last year in 67:02 by over a minute and will not relinquish her crown without a fight. Also look out for late-entrant Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey, who won RAK 2010 (67:07) and has a stunning array of fast times on the track (former world record at 5,000m) and right up to the marathon. Mix in Ethiopian half marathon record holder Meseret Hailu (66:56), Worknesh Degefa (67:49) and track-racer extraordinaire Wude Ayalew (67:58), and it's clear that for the women too, there is an unprecedented depth to the clash of the two so-proud East African nations. Let battle commence!
BibElite MenNatPBBibElite WomenNatPB
2Eliud KipchogeKEN59:2551Priscah JeptooKEN66:11
3Jonathan MaiyoKEN59:0252Mary KeitanyKEN65:50
5Mosinet GeremewETH59:1153Meseret HailuETH66:56
6Cyprian KotutKEN59:1254Elvan AbeylegesseTUR67:07
8Peter KiruiKEN59:2255Philes OngoriKEN67:38
9Mike KigenKEN59:5856Worknesh DegefaETH67:49
10Daniel WanjiruKEN59:5857Wude AyalewETH67:58
11Abera KumaETH60:1958Mamitu DaskaETH68:07
12Edwin KiptooKEN61:1359Cynthia LimoKEN68:24
14Tsegaye MekonnenETH61:3961Josephine ChepkoechKEN68:53
17Tamirat Tola AderaETH61:27
19Demessew TsegaKEN63:22