Dubai: World record-holder Brigid Kosgei has promised to go all out and win after confirming for next month’s Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon.
Termed ‘the world’s fastest half marathon’, the 14th edition of the annual race will be held of February 21 with Kosgei expected to set the field alight alongside a line-up of world-class elite runners.
“I am really excited to come back to the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon after two years. My only experience in that race was in 2018 when I came in seventh [with a time of 66:49],” Kosgei said.
“I know that this year the line-up is one of the best ever for a half marathon and I really hope to run fast.”
Having smashed Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing marathon world record by 81 seconds last year in Chicago with a time of 2:14:04, the Kenyan star enjoyed an incredible 2019 where she won every single race she competed in, including the London Marathon and Great North Run where she set impressive times of 2:18:20 and 64:28 respectively. The Kenyan, who will celebrate her 26th birthday the previous day of the race, is expected to kick-start her preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Kosgei can expect stiff competition from a host of top runners, including recent winner of the Comrades Marathon, Gerda Steyn of South Africa when the 21.1km race is run on Ras Al Khaimah’s Marjan Island. Steyn kicked off her running journey in the UAE with the Desert Road Runners Club and distinguished herself by becoming the first woman to complete the Comrades ultra-marathon in under six hours. She has marked a new personal best of 02:27:48 for the full marathon in New York last year while earning a qualifying spot at the Tokyo Olympics.
In the men’s race, Kenyan Benard Kimeli, who clinched back to back titles at the Prague Half Marathon in 2018 and 2019, and holds a personal best of 59:07, is aiming to take the crown in Ras Al Khaimah. The competition will not be easy as his main challenger could be Mosinet Geremew — one of only five men to complete a marathon in under two hours and three minutes — and the European record-holder for the half marathon, Julien Wanders of Switzerland, who set a time of 59:13 in Ras Al Khaimah last year. In total, ten of the elite athletes in the men’s race hold personal best times under 59:30, promising the mouth-watering prospect of more records falling.
Preparatory training sessions have already kicked-off with runners training at the Dubai Sports City every Monday and at the Umm Suqeim Beach every Wednesday. Additionally, Fitness First is offering training sessions at Dubai’s Autodrome in Motor City every Wednesday. Sessions in Ras Al Khaimah have been taking place from 8am every Friday on the Al Marjan Island.
Besides the main 21.1km race, a variety of other categories are open for registration to cater to all fitness levels including the Relay Team of Four, the 5km and a family friendly 1km Fun Run. Additionally, a two-person relay race format will be rolled-out for the first time this year, allowing teams of two to compete in a timed format.
Registration will be open until February 15 February whereas bookings for bus services to Ras Al Khaimah from Sharjah, Dubai and Abu Dhabi can be made during registration until the end of January through the website: www.therakhalfmarathon.com.