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As has been the case during the last seven editions, this instalment of the RAK Half Marathon, scheduled to be held on Friday, February 14 next year, promises fast times and fierce contests in both men’s and women’s competitions.

All but one of the previous seven editions of the men’s race have been won in under 60 minutes, with strong winds in 2012 being the cause of the only blip; and normal service resumed last year as participants in both fields recorded the second fastest course times (58:54 by men’s winner Geoffrey Kipsang and 1:06:09 in the women’s section by Lucy Kabuu).

For 2014, organisers expect more fast paced action. Participants willing to sign up for the enthralling half marathon are advised to do so by Saturday, December 14 – the last day of registration.

Those taking part in the race will be rubbing shoulders with some of the top racing stars and attempt to end up on the top finishers’ list, hopefully with times close to that of athletes such as Patrick Makau (the 2008-09 men’s winner) and marathon record holder Kipsang (this year’s winner).

Women’s world record holder Kenyan Mary Keitany has confirmed her participation and she, along with other elite stars, will be eyeing the world record and the accompanying bonus of $100,000 (Dh 367,299), on a course conducive for both.

Statistically speaking, the RAK Half Marathon is the world’s fastest half marathon with the average of the top 10 fastest times for men at 59:15 (the top three fastest times this year are from RAK) and women at 1:06:27 (top three fastest times of all time are now from RAK).

But that’s not to say it’s going to be all about record-breaking athletes.

The event is also the favoured race among local and regional runners aiming to set a new personal best time and it incorporates the Challenge which plays an important role in getting the local community involved.

Organisers acknowledge that not everyone is up to the task of running 21.097km and hence participating in the team relay (four members run approximately 5km each) opens up possibilities for colleagues, friends and family members to have a great day out.

Whether running to promote team work, health and fitness, support a charity, or for a share of the prize money, the Challenge gives everyone an opportunity to head north for some true RAK hospitality combined with great running.

For many local runners, there are spring marathons to consider but given that the date for the race – February 14, 2014 – is far enough ahead of the big 42km runs to generate interest as a build up race, it is little wonder that registration has been steadily climbing.

What: The RAK Half Marathon
When: Friday, February 14, 2014. Registration closes on Saturday, December 14
Where: Ras Al Khaimah
Information: For registration, log on to www.rakmarathon.org

 

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