Recently in Road Racing Category

RunBlogRun Opines: One of the true revelations from the RAK half marathon last weekend was the debut half marathon by Jemal Yimer. Yimer was a whiz over 10,000 meters and his entree into the road racing world was at the top of the food chain. The Kenyan team and now the Ethiopian team have put together serious teams for Valencia. This World Champs Half Marathon is pretty impressive, looking forward to seeing other teams!

DSC_1551.jpgJemal Yimer, RAK Half Marathon, second place, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun

Ethiopians for Valencia

ADDIS ABABA (ETH): Ethiopia's team for the IAAF/Trinidad Alfonso World Half Marathon Championships Valencia 2018 will include the country's top-ranked athletes for 2018, Jemal Yimer and Ruti Aga. Yimer debuted at the distance in Ras Al-Khaimah last week with a quality 59:00 and will be joined by Getaneh Molla, Betesfa Getahun, Dawit Fikadu and Jiksa Tadesse. Aga won the Houston Half-marathon in 66:39 in January and was second in the 2017 Berlin Marathon with 2:20:41. The women's team is completed by Zeineba Yimer, Meseret Belete, Bekelech Gudeta and Zinash Mekonnen.
DSC_1544.jpgJemal Yimer, 59:00 for his first half marathon, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun

meb-9-small.jpgMeb Keflezighi, photo courtesy of Soul Focus Sports

Soul Focus Sports puts on more than mere races. They put on experiences. From their management of the HOKA ONE ONE Postal Nationals to their race series, Represent Running Series, this company gets it. As Meb Keflezighi, 2004 Olympic silver medalist, 2009 NYC Marathon champion, 2014 Boston Marathon champion, moves into another stage of his life, the Jack Nicklaus of running has invested into the Silicon Valley Half Marathon.

If Meb Keflezighi is taking his cache and focus to become involved, consider running this inaugural event!

Cragg_AmyLedsH-WorC17.jpgAmy Cragg, World Championships 2017, photo by

PORTLAND (USA): World marathon bronze medallist Amy Cragg has said her main goal in the Tokyo Marathon is to improve her 2:27:03 PB, informs Track and Field News. "Really, the biggest goal is to run a PR. I think I've been in shape to run a lot faster than my current PR before," she said. "We'll have a more specific time in mind [as we get closer]. But, yeah, it's definitely to try and run a very big PR." Cragg added that she doesn't plan to run another championship marathon before the 2020 Olympics.

Cragg_Amy-WC17.jpgAmy Cragg, photo by

The Professor of the Marathon: Sean Hartnett,
photo courtesy of Spikes Magazine
Originally run April 29, 2013
Reposted February 15, 2018
I was just in Ras Al Khaimah for the RAK Half Marathon. It is the fastest Half marathon in the world. One of the ways RAK stands out is that they bring in Sean Hartnett and Helmut Winter to help the elite marathoners understand the course and how to run it faster. Sean is an amazing person, I have known him for nearly 20 years, spending nice afternoons at indoor meets in Wisconsin and alway chatting with him about the pacing and character of marathon courses. Haile Gebrselassie gave him the moniker, 'The Professor of the Marathon.'

The day I arrive at a major marathon and Sean Hartnett is not there, I will be surprised. Sean, a professor of geography and well respected track and cross country coach in the Badger state, is also known around the world as professor Marathon. Having worked with the likes of Paul Tergat and Haile Gebrselassie as well as the World Marathon Majors, Sean Hartnett maybe the biggest marathon geek in the world, and I say that with respect.

Sean knows every hill and decline on a major marathon course. We seldom see the guy in Wisconsin, but more in places like London, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, New York and perhaps, now, Tokyo.
Here is a well deserved story about Professor Marathon, Sean Hartnett, which appeared in Spikes Magazine today:

Samuelson-FlanaganHS-Boston13.jpgJoan Benoit Samuelson, Shalane Flanagan, photo by

The women who reminded us that running is not only fun, but a family affair, Joan Benoit Samuelson, will be at the upcoming Napa Marathon. Joan Benoit Samuelson won the first 1984 LA Olympic marathon for woman and has lead by example, running and never giving herself any quarter. I recall, a decade or more ago, when Joan Samuelson spoke with women at the then Nike SF Half marathon and marathon, and the admiration these young women had for Joan. If you get a chance to hear her speak, please do it!

DSC_1539.jpgBedan Karoki takes RAK Half Marathon 2018 in 58:42, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun

The RAK half marathon is two races in one. Elite men's running and elite women's racing are two different worlds.

This piece is about the men's elite race. As I was fascinated in seeing how this very deep Kenyan field and a few Ethiopians battled on the fastest course that I have ever seen. There are so many half marathons around the world, and many of them with serious money, that many athletes are being seen on half marathons around the world.

As I observed with the women's races, RAK half marathon also shows you that the depth of Kenyan and Ethiopian running is amazingly deep. A young runner who breaks through has set themself up for a nice life. With an annual income in Kenya of perhaps, after conversions, about $3700, a few race winning can make a big difference. But, as one can see from this race, is terribly difficult to get to the top of a race field as elite as RAK.


Joyciline Jepkosgei, Caroline Kipkirui, Fancy Chemutai, Mary Keitany, photo by Victah Sailer/

This writer has just returned from Ras Al Khaimah. It was a fascinating trip. I was reminded once again just how deep the quality of womens' running is in Kenya. I was reminded how important running culture and events are around the world. I was also reminded that, when you do an event well, you can build an event and a destination around such an event.

The weather was perfect. The start was about 57 degrees, with a light breeze. The sun was coming up, and there was a bit of fog. As the elite women took off, the enormity of the field hit me. I had written some notes on Thursday evening that there could be three women under the WR, which meant sub 65 minutes.

This is part two of the 2018 RAK Presser, focused on the elite women at the RAK Half Marathon. Mary Keitany, Gladys Cherono and Joceyline Jepkosgei. Their focus on the race was clear, and their intentions to win were obvious as well. As we all know, only one person can win a race, but we knew that the race would be fast. In fact, after the presser, emcee Tim Hutchings wrote that he expected the women's race would be a WR chaser. RunBlogRun noted that we could see three women near the WR.

DSC_0907.jpgMary Keitany, Gladys Cherono, Joyceline Jepkosgei, photo by Brian Eder for RunBlogRun

The presser will be posted in three parts, (this is part 2), all shot courtesy of RunBlogRun's digital partner's The Shoe Addicts.

Special thanks to Nathan Clayton and Rami Turk for their support of Fortius Media Group's coverage of the 2018 RAK Half Marathon (RunBlogRun, The Shoe Addicts and RunningNetwork).

The 2018 RAK Half Marathon, held on 9 February in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, was a revelation. The event shows the importance that global running events have to communities large and small. And it also shows, if you do an event right, it will grow and prosper.

ZZAA0265.JPGHugh Jones, Haitham Matter, Cliff Brand and Helmut Winter, photo by Victah Sailer/

Consider this first part of the RAK presser, emceed by Tim Hutchings, 4th place 1984 Olympic 5000 meters, a fine sport commentator and keen observer of the sport. This presser had Hugh Jones, General Secretary, AIMS, Haitham Mattar, CEO, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, Captain Cliff Brand, General Group Manager, SAQR Port, and Helmut Winter, top half marathon statistician on dais.

This presser is just over 19 minutes (19:28) and gives you a feeling for the support of the sport in RAK, and the precision with which Nathan Clayton and Rami Turk, the managing directors of Premier Sports.

The presser will be posted in three parts, all shot courtesy of RunBlogRun's digital partner's The Shoe Addicts.

Special thanks to Nathan Clayton and Rami Turk for their support of Fortius Media Group's coverage of the 2018 RAK Half Marathon (RunBlogRun, The Shoe Addicts and RunningNetwork).

Success in many endeavors is a difference of perspectives.

FinishArea1-RAK18.JPG2018 RAK finish line, 9 February 2018, photo by

For Tim Hutchings, one of the pre eminent meet emcees and TV announcers, getting all of the names right at a presser, and cajoling the elite athletes to speak more than their name and how they enjoy the area are good. When Tim Hutching has Augustine Choge speaking about his long career, and his fitness (not as good as 2017), I thought, in American baseball parlance, Tim Hutchings hit it out of the proverbial baseball park!

For Nathan Clayton, the race director of the RAK Half Marathon, that runners finished well, liked the experience, and the sponsors were happy was a sign of success. Deep performances once again made the 12th race, one of the sixty events hosted by Premier Sports, a resounding success. Of course, Nathan can see things he can improve on, but that is the hell of a race director. A bit of an obsession with details is a needed trait.

For Rami Turk, Nathan's partner in Premier Sports, it was a fine day when the timing worked, the wifi worked for the American media group @runblogrun, and the weather was near perfect. A good turn out at the finish line, that the food was on time, coffee hot and milk cold, are all the things that are part of the proverbial Dante's inferno of things that can go wrong in race manager's hell.

But, seriously, the race was, from this first time viewer, fantastic. Here's why:

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