Original Post February 12, 2018
Repost December 31, 2018
The RAK was an excellent event last February. In this piece, Justin Lagat writes about the strength of Kenyan running on the roads and in cross country.
The RAK Half Marathon, held last Friday, February 9, 2018, was a brilliant event. The depth of the event, the hard pace that was held, and the near perfect conditions should impress. They did impress Justin Lagat, and here’s what he thinks the races of last weekend portend for his favorite athletes from Kenya.
What happened at the RAK half marathon this weekend was epic, especially in the women’s race. Kenyan runners ran spectacular times to dominate one of the greatest half marathon events in the world. This will definitely serve to boost the morale of Kenyan runners as they head to the IAAF world half marathon championships in Valencia on 24th March 2018.
At the end of the women’s race in which Fancy Chemutai had missed the world record by a second, the list of the top ten fastest women over the half marathon distance had change. All the ten are now Kenyans and, interestingly for Kenyan fans, the first and second all-time fastest women are both in the Kenyan team for the Valencia world half marathon.
The world record holder for the women’s half marathon in 64:52, Joyciline Jepkosgei, finished 5th and completed the top five positions for the Kenyan women at the RAK half marathon. But, with her world record setting performances last year, her meeting again with Fancy Chemutai at the world half promises to be an exciting race. Joan Chelimo, who is in the team as a reserved athlete, finished 4th and also entered herself in the list of the top ten fastest women of all time in the half marathon.
Bedan Karoki eased away in the last stages to win the men’s race also in an impressive time of 58:42, which is the fourth fastest of all times’ list. His compatriot in the Kenyan team as well, Jorum Lumbasi ran 59:36 to finish fourth.
Despite missing in the RAK half marathon, Geoffrey Kamworor who will be seeking to defend his world half marathon title for the third consecutive time used the Kenyan national cross country championships to gauge his form. With four kilometers to go in the men’s 10km race, Kamworor was already running alone at the front. He comfortably won the national title.
With Karoki and Kamworor in the Kenyan team in the current forms they are in, the world half marathon race will be exciting to watch. Will the two take the first two places again? Will it be in the order? Time will tell.