2015 RAK Half Marathon Recap: Marvelous Mary Keitany And Remember The Drone
Women’s Runner-Up Mamitu Daska Sets New Ethiopian Record of 1:06:27
February 2, 2015
Mary Keitany of Kenya started out 2015 just as she ended 2014 – in impressive fashion – as she ran 1:06:03, the third fastest half marathon ever on a record-eligible course, to win the 2015 Ras al-Khaimah Half Marathon over Ethiopian Mamitu Daska (2014 BAA Half Marathon Champ) who had a massive 1:49 PR to finish second in 1:06:27, a new Ethiopian national record (breaking Meseret Hailu‘s record set at this race in 2013 of 1:06:56).
Keitany returned to pro racing in 2014 after giving birth and she has not lost since coming back, picking up wins in Ottawa at 10k (31:22), at the Bupa Great North at 13.1 (65:39), and in New York City at 26.2 (2:25:07) before today.
On the men’s side, it came down to a five way sprint the final straight between Mosinet Geremew of Ethiopia and four Kenyans. Geremew got the win in 1:00:05.
Flash Women’s Race Recap: Early WR Pace Proves Too Much (live thread here)
After a 15:43 opening 5k, the rabbits picked it up (the main pacer was Mary Keitany’s husband) and hit 10k in 31:07 which was one second faster than the 31:08 Florence Kiplagat split during her world record run (65:12) in Barcelona last year. Kiplagat had negative split her record run so the women could not let their feet off the gas.
At 10k four women were still in contention, Keitan, Daska, and Cynthia Limo and Josephine Chepkoech of Kenya. By 15k (46:41), Limo and Chepkoech were nearly 30 seconds back as the quick opening pace was taking its toll. Over the next 5k, Keitany would pull away from Daska and reach 20k in 62:35, but the 15:54 5k from 15k-20k was the slowest of the day and the world record was definitely out the window. The course record set by Keitany in 2011 (65:50) would go out the window as well, but Keitany was rewarded with the win and 50,000 AED ($13,612).
It should be pointed out that Daska’s new Ethiopian record of 66:27 isn’t the fastest half-marathon ever run by an Ethiopian. At the 2013 Bupa Great North Run, which featured Keitany, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defar, Defar ran 66:09 but the course is point to point and net downhill.
Results at bottom of article.
Flash Men’s Race: A Five-Way Sprint for the Title
An opening 5k of 14:32 (roughly 61:00 pace) meant that any shot of a super fast time was gone. The men would gradually ratchet down the pace (10k 28:54 (14:11) , 15k 43:11 (14:17), 20k 57:11 (14:00). Nine guys were still together at 15k, but the 14:00 next 5k meant there were only 5 left for the final one kilometer to the finish.
The big casualty had been Eliud Kipchoge, who is preparing for April’s London Marathon, and would end up sixth.
The five men contending for the title were Kenyans Mike Kigen, Daniel Wanjiru, Edward Kiptoo, Jonathan Maiyo, and Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew. Maiyo (59:02 pb) and Geremew (59:11 pb) were the fastest half-marathoners on paper but that means very little in a quarter mile sprint with four others for the title.
In the end Geremew, Wanjiru, and Maiyo were the strongest but there was no doubt Geremew was the best today as he got the win over Wanjiru and Maiyo. 4th-placer Edwin Kiptoo was the only guy with a big breakthrough here as he lowered his pr from 61:12 to 60:10.
Quick Thought on Women’s Race: Mary Keitany Is Tremendous at the Half Marathon
Mary Keitany has run some great marathons but she excels at the half. Her run today was once again evidence of that. There was almost disappointment that Keitany could not stay on world record pace, but Kiplagat’s run in Barcelona last year took the record to a different stratosphere. Keitany’s run was 54 seconds off the world record, but no other women than Kiplagat has run faster on a record-eligible course than Keitany did today. Keitany ran 65:50 here four years ago to set the previous world record. An impressive run and another win for Keitany who is just as good as she was before childbirth.
Daska ran very well in second. Not only was it a 1:39 pr and an Ethiopian national record, she gave Keitany a battle for most of the race. And Keitany is often not used to having to battle when she runs 66:02. 5 years ago another half in the UAE, the Zayed Half Marathon, gave $300,000 to the winners. Keitany won in 67:14. Second place was over 2 minutes behind. Today Daska was only 25 seconds back.
Quick Thought on Men’s Race: Remember the Drone
The RAK half is regarded as historically the fastest half marathon in the world. They men came nowhere near any record today with the modest early pace. The fact it came down to a sprint between a bunch of 59-61 guys is not surprising or worth a lot of comment. It was, however, a fun finish to watch.
Even better than the finish was some of the visuals. Early on during the live broadcast, there often was not sound as they worked out a glitch with the audio. Viewers were left with nothing but video – but boy was much of it stunning. Letsrun message boarders realized the visuals were from a drone filming the race. The drone was able to show some really cool shots. It could be head on, and then real quickly slide to the side and let the runners go by.
We’ll try and find out more about the drone but until then there is this thread: The Future Is Here: Drone Used to Film the Best Live Video from RAK Half Marathon. Results below
For a live blow by blow of the race: RAK Half live Thread
|9.||141||Anne-Mari Hyrylainen||FIN||Dubai Creek Striders||1:17:46||11:45|
|12.||2899||Gerda Steyn||RSA||Dubai Road Runners||1:26:55||20:53|
|15.||113||Debbie Powell||GBR||ABRaS AC||1:27:30||21:29|
|17.||156||Katy Hallside||GBR||Dubai Road Runners||1:27:56||21:54|
|18.||123||Aline Raywood||FRA||ABRaS AC||1:27:57||21:56|
|19.||2073||Rosalie Uphill||GBR||Wellness Running Saudi Arabia||1:28:54||22:53|
|13.||3020||Ihya Ben Youssef||MAR||1:06:06||6:01|
|14.||133||Ismail Ssenyange||UGA||Dubai Creek Striders||1:07:51||7:46|
|17.||2976||Micheal Ssali||UGA||Dubai Creek Striders||1:12:10||12:05|
|18.||2814||Saif Al Rashedi||UAE||1:12:21||12:16|
|20.||487||Zouak Ziani Mohamed||ESP||1:12:42||12:37|
|21.||2939||Lhaj Abdelkrim Moussaoui||MAR||1:13:21||13:17|
|29.||2758||Jean Claude Haramboure||FRA||Abu Dhabi Striders||1:19:33||19:28|