World Records Eyed At Friday’s RAK Half Marathon

Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse will make her long awaited half marathon debut at RAK. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Race will offer live race day footage.

Written By: David Monti
(c) 2010 Race Results weekly, all rights reserved

If performances in recent years were any indication, tomorrow’s RAK Half-Marathon in the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, will be fast.

Although the event has only been previously contested three times, it has already produced two of the top-3 fastest men’s half-marathon times ever, and three of the top-10. The course records are 58:52 by Patrick Makau of Kenya, and 67:18 by Dire Tune of Ethiopia, both set last year.

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Turkey's Elvan Abeylegesse will make her long awaited half marathon debut at RAK. Photo: PhotoRun.net

Today, organizers confirmed that they will have eight sub-60:00 men and ten sub-70:00 women hitting the pancake-flat course. Not counted amongst those starters is perhaps the race’s most intriguing entrant: double Olympic silver medallist Elvan Abeylegesse. The 27 year-old, Ethiopian-born Turk will be making her debut at the distance, and organizers reported that her Croatian coach, Nicola Boric, possibly has her in shape to challenge Lornah Kiplagat’s world record of 66:25. To achieve Kiplagat’s mark (assuming a level pace), Abeylegesse would need to reach 10 km in 31:29, 15 km in 47:13 (a mark only eight women have achieved either at a race finish line or en route to a longer distance), and 20 km in 62:58 (a time only achieved en route in half-marathons by Kiplagat and Paula Radcliffe). It’s a tall order, but with a 29:56.34 10,000m personal best, Abeylegesse could be up to the challenge.

There is little doubt that Ethiopia’s Tune will join Abeylegesse at the front of the race, no matter what the pace. Her coach, Haji Adilo, told organizers last week that he also wanted a world record pace for his athlete. Tune, who won the Boston Marathon in 2008, is the world record holder for one hour on the track.

Besides pacemaking, part of what keeps the RAK Half-Marathon moving is a “tough love” prize money structure. The first five places generously pay USD 20,000-10,000-7,000-5,000-4,000 for both men and women. However, failure to break 60 minutes for men and 70 minutes for women within that top-5 will result in the prize money being reduced to 25% of its original value, according to the event’s web site.

There is also an additional USD 5,000 bonus for course records.

Elite Athlete Line-ups are courtesy of RAK Half Marathon.

RAK Half Marathon Elite Line-ups:

Men / Nat / PR
Deriba Merga (ETH) 59:15
John Kiprotich (KEN) 59:23
Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 59:30
Stephen Kibiwott (KEN) 59:37
Jairus Chanchima (KEN) 59:43
Moses Arusei (KEN) 59:44
Fabiano Joseph (TAN) 59:56
Lelisa Desisa (ETH) 59:59
Tadesse Tola (ETH) 60:45

Women / Nat / PR
Dire Tune (ETH) 1:07:18
Aselefech Mergia (ETH) 1:07:48
Caroline Cheptanui (KEN) 1:08:16
Atsede Habtamu (ETH) 1:08:29
Mare Ibrahimova (AZE) 1:08:45
Magdalene Mukunzi (KEN) 1:08:52
Rosaria Console (ITA) 1:09:34
Hilda Kibet (NED) 1:09:43
Meseret Mengistu (ETH) 1:09:45
Agnes Kiprop (KEN) 1:09:54
Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR) Debut

To check out the finish line camera and for more information on the race visit: www.RAKMarathon.org

Courtesy of RAK Half Marathon.

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