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Switzerland’s Julien Wanders made history this morning by setting a European record of 59:13 at the 2019 RAK Half Marathon

After Switzerland’s Julien Wanders made history this morning by setting a European record of 59:13 at the 2019 RAK Half Marathon, becoming the fastest non-African-born runner ever in the process. 

Swiss 22-year-old runs 59:13 to break Mo Farah’s mark as Stephen Kiprop and Senbere Teferi storm to success

Julien Wanders smashed Mo Farah’s European record, while Stephen Kiprop and Senbere Teferi secured thrilling sprint finish victories at another fast and exciting edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Friday.

In an historic event which saw a total of 11 athletes break 60:00 – the most ever in a single race – Wanders clocked 59:13 to improve the 59:32 continental mark set by Britain’s 10-time global track champion Farah in Lisbon in 2015.

Such was the standard, that time only saw the Swiss 22-year-old finish fourth as Kenya’s 19-year-old Kiprop stormed to success, running a PB of 58:42 to deny Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis in the closing stages.

 

(02/08/2019) ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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The Rak Half Marathon was amazingly fast as 11 men clocked times under an hour

Kenya's 19-year-old Stephen Kiprop won the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) half marathon on Friday in a course record-equalling 58 minutes and 42 seconds, the fastest time ever recorded by a teenager.

Ethiopians Abadi Hadis and Fikadu Haftu completed the podium and Switzerland's Julien Wanders was fourth in a time of 59:13, a Swiss national record.  This also beats Mo Farah’s European record of 59:32. 

Hadis led Kiprop until the final 50 meters of the race before the young Kenyan powered past him to finish two seconds ahead.  

The race lived up to its billing of being the world's fastest half marathon as 11 men finished inside an hour, the first time it has happened in half-marathon history.  Five women finished under 1:06:30 which makes RAK the fastest women’s race ever too.

Kenya’s Stephen Kiprop continued where he left off last year by winning the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Friday Feb 8 in an equal course record of 58:42, moving to joint sixth on the world all-time list. In a close women’s race, Senbere Teferi won in 1:05:45, the fastest debut half marathon time in history, with just one second separating the top three finishers.

The men’s field got off to a steady start with a large lead group passing through five kilometres in 14:13 and 10 kilometres in 28:10. 15 men were still in the front pack at that stage, all operating well within the required schedule for a sub-60-minute finish.

The pace continued to increase, though, and by 15 kilometres – reached in 41:48 – Kiprop and Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis had broken away from the rest of the pack. Ethiopia’s Fikadu Haftu, Switzerland’s Julien Wanders and Kenya’s Morris Gachanga formed a chase trio about eight seconds adrift of the leaders.

Hadis and Kiprop gradually increased their lead in the closing stages. After passing 20 kilometres in 55:46, it became clear they could challenge Bedan Karoki’s course record of 58:42 set last year. Haftu and Wanders, meanwhile, had dropped Gachanga by this point and were 17 seconds behind the lead duo with a larger chasing pack not too far behind.

Kiprop, still just 19 years of age, proved to have the stronger finish and outkicked Hadis to win in 58:42, the fastest time in history by a teenager. It was another big step forward for Kiprop, who first broke through last year when winning the Venloop Half Marathon in 59:44 on his debut at the distance. He went on to win the Usti Nad Labem Half Marathon in 59:41 and reduced his PB to 59:21 when finishing fifth in Valencia.

In the women's race, Ethiopia's Senbere Teferi won in 1:05:45, ahead of compatriots Netsanet Gudeta and Zeineba Yimer, with only one second separating all three runners.

Teferi also set a record for the fastest debut time in a half marathon.

There were 2423 men finishers and 755 women.  

(02/08/2019) ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Julien Wanders from Switzerland, has set his sights to achieve new world records

The Swiss 22-year-old races Friday’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon and has Mo Farah’s 59:32 in his sights

“We don’t set any limits,” says Switzerland’s Julien Wanders when asked about his training set-up in Kenya. “I have a great group around me, they push me further. The mentality of the team is very nice.”

That no-limits mindset, together with lots of hard work under the guidance of his long-time coach Marco Jäger, seems to be serving the 22-year-old very well and is the reason he’s not ruling out the possibility of achieving an impressive fourth European record-breaking performance in 12 months in Ras Al Khaimah on Friday.

Since setting a European under-23 half-marathon record of 60:09 in Barcelona last February, Wanders has gone on to break and then improve the outright European 10km marks – first with 27:32 in Durban in October and then 27:25 in Paris on December 30.

Now he is getting ready to form part of another stacked field for the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon, where a total of 13 sub-60:00 athletes will toe the start line. Wanders has Mo Farah’s 59:32 continental mark, set in Lisbon in 2015, in his sights and says he feels in even better shape than he did in Paris just over five weeks ago.

“Yes, it is possible,” he says when asked about the possibility of breaking the European record during his trip to the northernmost emirate of the United Arab Emirates.

“We don’t know about the weather so if it’s good weather I think it is really possible but I am not obsessed with it – I want to go and try to win the race, that is my main goal.

“I never put a time in my mind. I have something (times in his head) that I don’t want and something that would be my dream and also I want to go for a good position.”

Is sub-59:30 the dream?

“Maybe my dream is further!” he smiles. “Who knows!

“Since Paris I have trained very well and I haven’t had any problems. I think I am in better shape than in Paris so I am looking forward to racing on Friday.”

On being part of such a strong field, Wanders adds: “It is very motivating. I am very happy that they invited me here. I am number 17 in the start list! So I don’t have a lot of pressure, I just want to enjoy being with these guys and trying to beat them.”

(02/07/2019) ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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The RAK women’s race should be as sensational as last year, being one of the world's fastest half marathons

The 2017 champion Peres Jepchirchir, in a then world record of 1:05:06, returns from becoming a mother, and while she may struggle to match the dramatic consistency of her 2016 racing year and the subsequent world record in Ras Al Khaimah, there is justifiable excitement about her return.

Equally keenly anticipated, is the appearance of reigning world half marathon champion Netsanet Gudeta of Ethiopia, whose win in Valencia last March not only gave her global gold but was a world record for a women’s-only race. She also won all three of her half marathon in 2018, and her remarkable consistency over the last four years, suggests there is more to come.

In the field as well is UAE’s own Alia Mohammed Saeed, who’s best time of 1:06:13 came in her debut and her only half marathon in Valencia last October. She was a close runner-up there and her three 10k road wins out of three last year, suggest her competitive instincts are finely honed.

Trying to stop her, from her former home in Ethiopia and only 20 last June, Zeineba Yimer ran five half marathons in 2018, each of them of high quality, and they included a fine fifth place at the world championships in March (1:08:07), followed by much faster times in September’s Copenhagen race (1:06:21 pb) and New Delhi (1:06:59).

Not having raced since that latter outing in October, should see her in fresh and ready-to-race. Throw in Degitu Azimeraw who also has just one half marathon to her name, and the challenge is clear. The winner of her first international race in Kolkata, a 25km just over a year ago, she was sixth in Ras Al Khaimah last year, her one and only half marathon ever, in a fine 1:06:47, to place just outside the world top ten for the year.

The race, traditionally one of the world's fastest half marathons, is this year to be staged partially on the brand-new man-made Al Marjan Island complex, possibly an even faster circuit than in previous years.

(01/30/2019) ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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The 13th edition of the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon once again promises fierce racing and quick times

Bedan Karoki of Kenya last year retained his Ra’s Al Khaimah Half Marathon title from 2017 (59:10), storming to a 58:42 and leading six others under the one-hour barrier. In the women’s race Fancy Chemutai from Kenya missed the three-month-old women’s world record by just one second with her 1:04:52 clocking in a memorable clash with Kenyan Mary Keitany.

Topping this year’s men’s line-up is Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis, who on October 20 was third at the Valencia Half in 58:44, in only his second outing over the distance. His fabulous track times at 5000m and 10,000m plus his Cross Country pedigree, single him out as a genuine all-round racer, and if his 2018 form on road and track is maintained, he will be the one to beat.

Behind the young Ethiopian is a host of top Kenyans and fellow Ethiopians.  Jorum Okombo is one of the former, placing fourth last year (59:36) when just 20, but with a 58:48 best when runner-up in Copenhagen 2017. Despite a string of fast times over the last two years, he has yet to win a half marathon.

The experienced Alex Korio has been consistently under the magical 60-minute barrier in recent years, while fellow Kenyan Daniel Kipchumba, after winning his debut half in Italy last April, went on to win the Copenhagen Half last September in 59:06, and was again under the hour in New Delhi in October.

While not yet a sub-60 minute performer, much attention will be focused upon Switzerland’s latest road sensation Julien Wanders. Spending much of the year training in Kenya, the 22-year-old set a 27:25 European 10km record in Paris on 30 December, and with his 1:00:09 half marathon best last February, is perfectly poised to become just the fifth European ever to break the one hour mark.

(01/29/2019) ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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Former World Half Marathon record holder Peris Jepchirchir will be looking forward to reclaim the Ras Khaimah Half Marathon title next month

Peris Jepchirchir wants to make a comeback after a year-long maternity leave.  She has been traversing the tea plantations in Kapsabet and Nandi Hills in Nandi County where she trains.

“I’m happy I will be going back to RAK Half Marathon next month after good training and my target is to lower my personal best and if possible go for the record,” Peris said.  She is coached by her husband Davis Ng’eno.  Peris told Nation Sport at her home in Kapsabet after her long run.

Jepchirchir, who will making her third appearance in the United Arabs Emirates race, said she loves the course as it allows for a fast-paced race.

“I want to see how my body reacts as my build up towards an international marathon continues. I’m yet to know which race I will participate in but I’m targeting April,” she said.

In her marathon debut in November last year, Jepchirchir ran a brilliant race in Kass International Marathon in Eldoret where she finished third in 2:39:16 behind Cynthia Jerop (2:39:16) and second-placed Beatrice Ruto (2:45:07).

“I had trained for only six months for Kass but was surprised after emerging third. That gave me belief to continue working hard in training where I want to have a successful transition from half marathon to marathon races.

“Breaking the world record is something good and I have been there before. I want to be in the history books again and if I miss it at RAK, I will be going for the full marathon record in future,” Jepchirchir, who looks up to Mary Keitany for inspiration, said.

Jepchirchir shattered Florence Kiplagat’s world record in 2017 by clocking 1:05:06 at the RAK Half Marathon.

(01/19/2019) ⚡AMP
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Rak Half Marathon

Rak Half Marathon

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the...

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It does not get much better than this - 2018 RAK Half Marathon

Fancy Chemutai narrowly missed out on breaking the world record at the RAK Half Marathon on Friday (9) on a day when both course records fell. The sea mist that blanketed the emirate’s capital provided near perfect conditions, while record-size mass fields and enormous depth to the elite groups meant a special day was more or less guaranteed. Perfect pacing by a trio of Kenyan men laid the foundation for an epic closing struggle between Mary Keitany and Fancy. The race came down to the contrasting figures of tiny Keitany and the long, rangy stride of the powerful Chemutai. At 20k they were inseparable. Keitany momentarily looked to be the one applying the pressure, but Chemutai shrewdly delayed her surge until the final 100m crossing the finish line in 1:04:52 with Mary 3 seconds back. The pair are now second and third on the world all-time list behind Jepkosgei. (02/09/2018) ⚡AMP
Fast Half Marathons
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Half Marathon World Records were just missed by seconds at RAK

The RAK Half Marathon in UAE delivered. In the women's race Fancy Chemutai from Kenya just missed the world record by two seconds. She ran 1:04:53 just beating out Mary Keitany (1:04:55) and Caroline Kipkirui was third in 1:05:07. In the men's race Kenya's Bedan Karoki set a new course record in 58:42, just 19 seconds off the world record. In second running his first half was Jemal Yimer from Ethiopia (59:00) and third was Alex Kibet 59:06. Seven men broke one hour. RAK indeed delivered. (02/08/2018) ⚡AMP
Fast Half Marathons
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RAK Organizers added a $100,000US bonus for anyone who breaks the world record

The RAK Half Marathon is under way. In a bid to spice up the race, the organizers have added a $100,000 US dollar bonus for anyone who breaks the world record in additional to the 50,000 dollar prize purse. (02/08/2018) ⚡AMP
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What makes the RAK the World’s Fastest Half Marathon?

The RAK Half Marathon (UAE) is the 'world's fastest half marathon' because if you take the top 10 fastest times recorded in RAK for men (and the same for women) and find the average (for each) and then do the same with the top ten fastest recorded times across all races (you can reference the IAAF for this), the faster average time for both men AND women will be in RAK; making it the world's FASTEST half marathon! This year’s race starts at 6:30am Friday morning or 6:30pm California time Thursday night. (02/07/2018) ⚡AMP
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4 of the fastest 7 women to race RAK Half Marathon

World record holder Joyciline Jepkosgei and London Marathon champion Mary Keitany are among the star-studded women’s field named for the RAK Half Marathon on February 9. Four of the fastest seven women in history will line up for United Arab Emirates half marathon, with another seven sub-68 minute runners alongside them. Kenya’s Jepkosgei set the world record for the half marathon twice in 2017 after finishing third in RAK last year and lines up alongside fellow Kenyan stars Keitany, Fancy Chemutai and Edith Chelimo. Keitany, a three-time RAK winner, finished second last year, setting a personal best 65:13. (01/29/2018) ⚡AMP
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Brigid Kosgei First Race Since Honolulu as she gets ready for London

Brigid Kosgei showed her initial preparations are going well ahead of the London Marathon with a commanding victory at the Eldoret Discovery Cross Country on Sunday. In her first race since demolishing the course record at the Honolulu Marathon in December in 2:22:15 with a big negative split of 1:10:25, Kosgei ran out triumphant by 10 seconds in the senior women’s 8km, crossing the finish-line in 27:31. Kosgei will return to action next month at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Feb 9. (01/28/2018) ⚡AMP
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Defending Champion Karoki Leads Deep Field For Rak Half Marathon

Bedan Karoki is back to defend his title, having won last year in a lifetime best of 59:10. But with 15 men able to boast sub-60-minute bests – two more than last year – his task to win again will be harder than ever. No fewer than 29 men have now broken the 60-minute barrier on the sweeping loops of the RAK circuit. Of the four men who achieved the feat last year, three of them will return to Ras al-Khaimah. (01/22/2018) ⚡AMP
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