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The 15th edition of the RAK Half Marathon will take place on February 19, 2021, on Al Marjan Island — organisers are calling it the “World’s Fastest Half Marathon”. This is a tall task after the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon yielded world records. But with a bolstered prize purse, top East African athletes are lining up.

World Half Marathon record holder Kibiwott Kandie of Kenya and Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo have committed.

The 24-year-old Kandie ran 57:32 two weeks prior at the Valencia Half Marathon. Kiplimo now just 20, finished five seconds behind Kandi in Valencia. These two have the potential to improve on the world record further. Kiplimo is the World Half Marathon Champion.

Mosinet Geremew and Alexander Mutiso Munyao are also in the race.

Ethiopian Geremew won the 2018 Dubai Marathon and finished second in the 2019 London Marathon with a 2:02.55 finish time. This is the fourth-fastest performance of all-time. He finished second at the 2019 World Marathon Championships. In 2015 he won RAK.

Munyao has recently placed fourth at the Valencia Half Marathon with a time of 57.59.

Defending RAK Half Marathon champion Kenyan Stephen Kiprop with a personal best time of 58.42 has also committed.

In the women’s race, marathon and half-marathon world record holder from Kenya, Brigid Kosgei, and Ethiopia’s Ababel Yeshaneh, who is the mixed-gender half marathon world record holder, will lead the women. Yeshaneh is the defending champion of the RAK half-marathon, which she finished with a 64:31, three seconds off of Kosgei’s world best performance at the distance; sparks may fly.

During the 2019 Chicago Marathon, she clocked an impressive 2:20:51.

Peres Jepchirchir, Ruth Chepngetich, Yalemzerf Yehualaw, and Sara Hall are expected to toe-the-line, however, Hall raced in October at the London Marathon and is racing in The Marathon Project.

Jepchirchir won the 2020 World Half Marathon Championship in Gdynia, Poland with a (women’s only) record time of 1:05.16. At Valencia last month she clocked a near seven-minute improvement with a 2:17.15, which is the fifth-fastest time in history.

Check back often to find out more about the growing elite field for the RAK Marathon.