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By David Monti
February 24, 2009
(c) 2009 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

Last Friday's RAK Half-Marathon in Ras Al Khaimah in the United Arab Emirates produced more than just world-leading times, national records and personal bests for the standard 21.097 km half-marathon distance.  By the end of the year, it may also stand as the world's best 10-K on the road, at least for men.

According to a timing report specially prepared for Race Results Weekly by the event organizers, eight men broke 28 minutes at the 10-K mark of the race, half of the 16 athletes who were clocked at under 29 minutes at that point.  That's nearly double the number of sub-28's reported in the fastest results of any 10-K road race held in the world last year.  The greatest number of sub-28's recorded at the finish line in 2008 was four at the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans.

  Moreover, had the men simply stopped running at 10-K, their times would have occupied six of the top-ten 10-K finish times at all road races combined in the world last year.  The first five men at that point --Patrick Makau, Wilson Kiprotich, Deribe Merga, Wilson Chebet, and Matthew Koech-- were all clocked at 27:42.  That would have tied them for the fifth-fastest 10-K in the world last year as timed on the finish line.

Here are the top-10 10-K times from the RAK Half-Marathon:

 1. Patrick Makau       KEN     27:42
 2. Wilson Kiprotich    KEN     27:42
 3. Deriba Merga        ETH     27:42
 4. Wilson Chebet       KEN     27:42
 5. Matthew Koech       KEN     27:42
 6. Joseph Maregu       KEN     27:43
 7. Charles Munyeki     KEN     27:45
 8. Abel Kirui  KEN     27:59
 9. Tujuba Megersa      ETH     28:14
10. David Mandago       KEN     28:14

Statisticians disagree on the validity en route times.  The IAAF accepts en route times for all-time lists and record consideration if the same standards for record-setting are met at the intermediate points as would be required on the finish line.  Most national federations are in agreement with this position.  However, the indepenent Association of Road Race Statisticians does not consider en route times for either all-time lists or records, citing too great a variability in intermediate point timing and course measurement.

It will be interesting to compare the 10-K results from the RAK half with next Sunday's World's Best 10-K in San Juan, Puerto Rico, widely regarded as the strongest winter 10-K road race in the world.


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