Kiprop stuns classy field to win RAK 21km contest

By Denis Okeyo: Saturday, February 9th 2019 at 00:00 GMT +3 | Athletics
RAK Half Marathon Kenya's Stephen Kiprop wins the 2019 RAK marathon in United Arab Emirates.

Aiyabei finish fifth in women’s race that Ethiopians dominated.  

Kenya’s Stephen Kiprop yesterday won the 2019 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon (RAK), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) premier race.

Ethiopians pulled a fast one on Kenyans sneaking away with top four places only for Valary Ayabei to settle for fifth spot.

Men's team reached the half way mark at 28 minutes and ten seconds, a huge group still in contention before the race was reduced into a Kenyan and Ethiopian battle. Abadi Hadis dictated the pace as 20-year-old Kiprop stuck with the chasing pack.

At 20km, Hadis attempted to widen the gap between and Kiprop but the Kenyan summoned little energy to go past him with 100metres to the tape to win the race in 58:42. Stunned Hadis retuned 58:44 in the second place.

Kiprop’s time matched the event record set by his compatriot Bedan Karoki last year. This year’s race was contested on a new course. Kiprop dropped 39 seconds off his previous best run in Valencia Half Marathon last year and moves him to joint sixth on the world half-marathon all-time list for record-eligible courses.

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Ethiopian Fikadu Haftu occupied the third place clocking 59:08 ahead of Switzerland’s Julien Wanders who ran 59:22 which saw him smash European record by 21 second set by Briton’s Mo Farah in 2015 at Great North Run. Wanders is a member of NN Running team.

It’s worth noting Wanders’ time also represented the fastest time ever by someone born outside Africa.