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Top Kenyan runners entered for Ras Al Khaimah half marathon

Last updated 1 month ago | By Stephen Rutto

Geoffrey Kamworor during The National Police Service Cross Country Championship at Ngong Race Course on Saturday, Jan 26, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

The stage has been set for a sweltering race at the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) half marathon as former world record holder Geoffrey Kamworor is confirmed as the latest entrant.

Also included in the elite line-up for the February 19 race is two-time world 5000m champion Hellen Obiri.

With record-holders Kibiwott Kandie (men half marathon), Brigid Kosgei (women marathon), Peres Jepchirchir (women-only) and Ethiopian Ababel Yeshaneh (women half marathon), jaw-dropping pace at the United Arab Emirates is expected.

RAK organisers entered Kamworor and Obiri two days ago, further strengthening the elite field.

Kamworor has been out of competition for nearly a year after suffering a fractured tibia when he was hit from behind by a motorcycle during a training session mid last year.

He could not defend his world half marathon title in Poland in October due to the injury, and later his 58.01 world record set in Copenhagen in 2019 stumbled.

But in the next three weeks, Kamworor who won the 2013 RAK edition will be facing Kandie - the man who obliterated his world record in Valencia on December 6, last year.

Kandie shaved 29 seconds off Kamworor’s world record. Kamworor, an athlete who trains together with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge in Kaptagat, Elgeyo Marakwet County, is one of five former winners in the men’s field.

After confirmation of his entry, the three-time World Half Marathon Champion said he was excited to race again after the injury.

World Champion Hellen Obiri (centre) with other 10KM Women category during the 38th Edition of the Kenya Defence Forces Cross Country championship at Kahawa Garrison on Friday, Jan 25, 2019. [Jonah Onyango, Standard]

“It's time to race again. After months of working hard to recover from my injury, I am very excited to be on the starting line again in RAK to get my season going,” the two-time New York City marathon winner said.

Also in the race is Reuben Kiprop Kipyego, who is making his half-marathon debut this year.

In October, Kipyego recorded a personal best of 2.04.12 in Valencia after surprisingly winning the Abu Dhabi Marathon in 2019.

The Kenyan guns will be clashing with Ugandan Jacob Kiplimo, the runner-up at the Valencia half marathon in December, as well as an Ethiopian squad led by Jemal Yimer – his country’s national record holder in half marathon.

Ethiopian Shura Kitata, who has a personal best of 59.47 and the 2020 London Marathon title to his name, is also eyeing glory in half marathon.

After chalking up a win at the Cursa dels Nassos race in Barcelona on December 31, 2020, in her road race debut, Obiri is taking up a more blistering assignment at the Al Marjan Island race.

In the Barcelona 10km race, she clocked 30.53 despite falling.

The two-time 5000m world champion will, however, be facing off with experienced road running stars comprising her countrywomen Brigid Kosgei and Peres Jepchirchir, who had been entered in December.

Brigid is the London marathon champion.   

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