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Kenyan, Geoffrey Kamworwor, three-time world half marathon champion and former world record holder joins the already elite field competing in the RAK Half Marathon. Also toeing the line will be Kenyan Hellen Obiri who is a two-time World Athletics Championship 5000m gold medallist.
The 28-year-old Kamworwor was hit by a motorcycle while training in Kenya last June. It will be a year since his last race. Kamworwor has run the half marathon distance as fast as 58:01, which was the world record until Dec. 6, 2020, when countryman Kibiwott Kandie finished the Valencia Half Marathon in the time of 57:32.
Kamworwor's record was passed by four athletes all in the same race in December in Valencia. The first men to breach the 58-minute benchmark were: Kibiwott Kandie - 57:32 KEN Jacob Kiplimo - 57:37 UGA Rhonex Kipruto - 57:49 KEN Alexander Mutiso - 57:59 KEN
Obiri owns the Kenyan national 5000m record at 14:18.37 from 2017. Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia holds the world record for the distance at 14:06.62 from October 2020. Obiri is the sixth-fastest woman all-time with the ninth fastest performance on record.
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. But with a bolstered prize purse, top East African athletes are lining up.
Also 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.
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.