Raki Phillips (centre) is flanked by Andrea Trabuio (left) and Enrico Fili at the announcement of the 2020 RAK Marathon, on Monday. Image Credit: Alaric Gomes/Gulf News

Dubai: Geoffrey Kamworor’s world record in the half marathon may be under a serious threat when the 14th RAK Half Marathon is held on February 21 next year.

Kamworor completed the 21.095km in a time of 58.01 minutes on September 15 in Copenhagen to better fellow countryman Abraham Kiptum’s 58.18 minutes, set in Valencia in October last year. The best time achieved in the past 13 editions of the RAK Half Marathon is when Kenyan Stephen Kiprop ran 58.42 minutes to win the event last year ahead of the Ethiopian pair of Abadi Hadis (58.44) and Fikadu Haftu (59.08).

“That’s quite a time gap to be narrowed,” RAK Half Marathon Race Director Andrea Trabuio told Gulf News at the unveiling of the race in Dubai on Monday.

“But this is not something that is impossible. The world of long distance running has witnessed several new marks in the recent past and our ambitions are always to have the strongest field for this race, that in turn, will put Ras Al Khaimah firmly on the international map,” he added.

Last year’s women’s race witnessed a clean sweep from the Ethiopians led by Senbere Teferi (1:05.45); Netsanet Gudeta (1:05.45) and Zeineba Yimer (1:05.46).

Alaric Gomes/Gulf News

This year’s RAK Half Marathon will have a start and finish at the Al Marjan Island in Ras Al Khaimah with the race being organised by RCS Sports and Events for the very first time. While much of the attention will be on the 40-odd elite field of runners, there will also be the normal tussle for honours in the relay for two and four members along with the 5km run and the 1km fun, especially run for kids.

“This is a race for the entire family. Anyone can get involved in this event and this year we have made this event even more appealing with minor tweaks that will give athletes and spectators a glimpse of prime views in Ras Al Khaimah,” Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, told media.

“Sports today is closely linked to tourism, and we are on the path of achieving our goals of crossing 3 million tourists by 2025,” he added.

The race is scheduled to start at 7am on February 21 with the first of the runners expected to cross the finish line before 8am. The top 10 winners will get cash awards starting from Dh50,000 for the first, Dh35,000 for the second and Dhs 25,000 for the third right down to Dhs 2,000 to the 10th placed finishers in the men and women’s elite categories.

The previous edition of the race, held on February 8 this year, saw 3,186 entrants enlisting representing 104 nationalities, of which only 2,567 started and 2,528 completed the course. The oldest athlete was 71 years while the youngest runner was 15 years old.

“We are bringing in some top elite athletes,” Enrico Fili, CEO of RCS Sports and Events, said. “We want to see this race grow internationally, so that Ras Al Khaimah tourism benefits,” he added.