Art & Entertainment | Book Reviews | Education | Entertainment Video | Health | Lifestyle | Sport | Sport Video | Search

 


Geoffrey Mutai aiming to regain title as super fields gather


PRESS RELEASE

Geoffrey Mutai aiming to regain title as super fields gather for RAK Half

As for each of the previous six editions, this year’s RAK Half Marathon on the northern shores of the UAE on Friday 15th February, promises fast times and fierce contests in both men’s and women’s races.

Five times with a sub-60 minute male winner, only strong winds last year slowed times, but resumption of normal service is expected with the exceptional fields making the winners’ names harder than ever to predict. The still standing women’s world record was set here in 2011 by Mary Keitany (65:50), while the men’s course record is 58:52 by Patrick Makau in 2009.

Whoever does top the men’s rostrum, from a field of ten sub-60 minute runners, joins an exalted list of road racing legends; Sammy Wanjiru (2007), Patrick Makau (2008-09), Geoffrey Mutai (2010), Deriba Merga (2011) and Dennis Koech (2012).

The 2010 winner Geoffrey Mutai returns knowing his victory in 59:43 helped to project him to his current status as the world’s most successful marathon racer of the last three years. Indeed, few could have guessed that when the late Sammy Wanjiru in 2007 won the inaugural event in this quiet port city less than fifty miles from Dubai, his 59:53 clocking would become just one of 19 sub-one hour performances in the first six years of the event.

Amongst those attracted by that promise of training fulfilment this year, is the exciting Stephen Kibet of Kenya, last year world ranked number two with 58:54. Others to consider however, with over a dozen Kenyans featuring on the elite list, include Ezekiel Chebii, the winner in Lille last September (59:05) and Pius Maio Kirop, Berlin winner last April (59:25). Amongst the Ethiopians, Feyisa Lelisa, winner at Houston in 2012 (59:22), has already retained that title this year, and Getu Feleke, fourth here twelve months ago and subsequently second in the Rotterdam Marathon in 2:04:50, will likely go better.

That astonishing world record of 65:50 by Kenya’s Mary Keitany in the 2011 race, confirmed that the RAK organisers can all but guarantee perfect conditions when much of Europe and North America is still mired in winter weather. As a result, the women’s field is also loaded with Elvan Abeylegesse of Turkey, after a relatively quiet 2011-2012, and now a mother, bullish about her chances of showing similar form to that which saw her win here three years ago in 67:07.

The fastest woman on paper is Florence Kiplagat (66:38), who can boast great 10,000m speed (second fastest in the world in 2012 with 30:24) as well as a marathon runner’s strength – she won Berlin in 2011 in 2:19:44. Against her is 2012 Olympic marathon silver medallist Priscah Jeptoo, who remarkably, has never broken 70 minutes; a lopping of several minutes is long overdue. The half marathon is also the ideal distance for their compatriot Lucy Wangui Kabuu, another member of the sub-2:20 marathon club, who has a similar range of world class times. Kabuu is apparently in fine form and one to watch having won all three of the half marathons she’s ever contested, including both the Great North Run and the Delhi Half Marathon in 2011. Ominously perhaps, Kabuu is of a remarkably similar build to Keitany – long and light but very strong. For the Ethiopians, former track start Meselech Melkamu will be making her debut in RAK, but her win in the Frankfurt Marathon last October (2:21:01), also her debut, suggests something spectacular is possible.

Like Mutai who plans to run London, many of those competing in RAK have spring marathon ambitions but the date is far enough ahead of the big 42km gatherings to warrant a full-out effort rather than a measured preparation race and with the half marathon specialists thrown in to the mix, it is little wonder that the organisers had to turn away many good athletes.

The total prize and bonus monies offered of over $250,000 don’t do any harm of course, but the RAK half has never been easy and worthy champions are two of the few certainties.

Past RAK winners:
2007 Sammy Wanjiru (KEN) 58:53 (WR) Birhan Adere (ETH) 1:10:58
2008 Patrick Makau (KEN) 59:35 Salina Kosgei (KEN) 1:12:29
2009 Patrick Makau (KEN) 58:52 Dire Tune (ETH) 1:07:18
2010 Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 59:43 Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR) 1:07:07 (NR)
2011 Deriba Merga (ETH) 59:25 Mary Keitany (KEN) 1:05:50 (WR)
2012 Dennis Koech (KEN) 1:00:40 Mary Keitany (KEN) 1:06:42
Elite for the 2013 RAK Half Marathon:
Geoffrey Mutai (KEN) 59:30 Florence Kiplagat (KEN) 1:06:38
Stephen Kibet (KEN) 58:54 Lucy Wangui Kabuu (KEN) 1:07:04
Ezekiel Chebii (KEN) 59:05 Elvan Abeylegesse (TUR) 1:07:07
Feyisa Lelisa (ETH) 59:22 Paskalia Kipkoech (KEN) 1:07:17
Pius Maio Kirop (KEN) 59:25 Flomena Chepchir (KEN) 1:08:06
Geoffrey Kipsang (KEN) 59:26 Diana Chepkemoi (KEN) 1:08:08
Joel Kimurer (KEN) 59:36 Feyse Tadese Boru (ETH) 1:08:44
Stanley Biwott (KEN) 59:44 Meseret Hailu (ETH) 1:08:55
Daniel Chebii (KEN) 59:49 Rita Jeptoo (KEN) 1:09:48
Getu Feleke (ETH) 59:56 Ashu Kasim (ETH) 1:10:05
Emmanuel Mutai (KEN) 60:03 Sharon Cherop (KEN) 1:10:21
Micah Kogo (KEN) 60:17 Priscah Jeptoo (KEN) 1:10:26
Edwin Kipyego (KEN) 60:55 Meselech Melkamu (ETH) 1:10:25
Daniel Wanjiru (KEN) 61:19
Tsegaye Mekonnen (ETH) 63:59
Yusuke Hasegawa (JPN) Debut
Paul Maina Ngari (KEN) Debut

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 
Scoop Review Of Books: Excerpt - Ice Bear: The Cultural History Of An Arctic Icon

“During the last decade the image of the polar bear has moved in the public imagination from being an icon of strength, independence and survival in one of the most climatically extreme of world environments, to that of fragility, vulnerability and more generally of a global environmental crisis.” More>>

NZ Opera: Max Rashbrooke Reviews The Mikado

So concerns about the work of the piece have to be addressed; but they are complex, and probably better handled in another post. So what about this production itself? More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: The Typewriter Factory

I finished reading Don’t Dream It’s Over not long after it came out last August. I even started writing a review, which took something of an ‘I’m sorry people, but it’s already over’ approach. I’ve been pretty negative about journalism as it’s practiced in the mainstream (or MSM, or corporate media or liberal media or whatever terminology you prefer) for quite some time (see for example Stop the Press), and I believe the current capitalist media model is destructive and can’t be reformed. More>>

Sheep Update: Solo World Shearing Record Broken In Southland

Southland shearer Leon Samuels today set a new World solo eight-hours strongwool ewe-shearing after a tally of 605 in a wool shed north of Gore. More>>

ALSO:

Howard Davis Review: Dick Frizzell At The Solander Gallery

One of the most influential and celebrated contemporary Pop artists working in New Zealand, Dick Frizzell is mostly known for his appropriation of kitsch Kiwiana icons, which he often incorporates into cartoon-like paintings and lithographs. Not content with adhering to one particular style, he likes to adopt consciously unfashionable styles of painting, in a manner reminiscent of Roy Lichtenstein. More>>

Old Music: Pop Icon Adam Ant Announces NZ Tour

Following his recent sold out North American and UK tours, Adam Ant is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the release of his landmark KINGS OF THE WILD FRONTIER album with a newly-remastered reissue (Sony Legacy) and Australasian tour. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Culture
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news