The RAK Half Marathon will be held on Friday, February 8, 2019. Justin Lagat wrote this piece on the return of Peres Jepchirchir to racing after having a child. The men’s and women’s races will be hard fought. Fourteen men have PBs under sixty minutes.
Peres Jepchirchir returns to action at the RAK half marathon on Friday
Peres Jepchirchir will be back in action again at the 13th edition of the RAK half marathon this Friday. She has been out of the competition scene for a while and it will be interesting to see how her come back will go.
After winning the IAAF world half marathon championships in 2016 and breaking the world record in 2017 at the RAK half marathon, Jepchirchir later went on her maternity. However, while she was away her world record of 1:05:06 was broken two months after she set it by Joyciline Jepkosgei who ran 1:04:52 and repeated a 1:04:51 later in the year.
The RAK half marathon course is arguably the fastest record eligible one in the whole world, according to the statistics of the fastest top ten times usually recorded here. It is hard to gauge what kind of form Jepchirchir is back to, but it definitely is in her mind to try and reclaim her world record now that she is back to competitive running again. Many women have come back stronger from their running break than when they left and it could be the same for Jepchirchir this Friday.
The presence of Ethiopia’s Netsanet Gudeta, who is the reigning world half marathon champion and the women’s only world record holder with 1:06:11, will make the women’s race more interesting.
Fourteen runners have broken the 60 minute barrier in the men’s elite start list and it promises to be another one great race to watch as well. Ethiopia’s Abadi Hadis (58:44), Kenya’s Jorum Okombo (58:48) and Kenya’s Alex Korio (58:51) are among the leading contenders with leading personal best times.
Of great interest to watch as well will be Ethiopia’s Sanbere Teferi’s debut to the half marathon distance here. She has personal best time of 30:38 for the 10km and 14:23 for the 5,000m beside being the 2015 world silver medalist from the Beijing 2015 world championships.
Switzerland’s Julien Wanders who holds the European 10km record of 27:25 will be another interesting runner to watch as he seeks to run under one hour and join a few other Europeans who have ever managed to do so.