Mary Keitany remains unbeaten after her mother break and won also the 9th RAK International Half Marathon (Ras Al Khaimah, UAE) for the third time in excellent world-leading time of 1:06:02. It’s the fourth-fastest time ever at legal courses. Second was Mamitu Daska in 1:06:27 (Ethiopian record) and Cynthia Limo third in 1:07:02, both of whom clocked personal bests. Also fourth Josephine Jepkoech as last under 1:10 with 1:07:32, also life-time high. Best European was Anne-Mari Hyrylainen of Finland as 9th in 1:17:46.
Keitany attacked Florence Kiplagat’s 1:05:12 world record and for well past half-way, things were going according to plan. The diminutive 32-year-old passed 10k in 31:07 (Kiplagat 31:08), held the requisite tempo (3:05/km) till the 14th kilometre and at 15km (46:42), she was only 7 seconds down on Kiplagat’s mark from Barcelona. But while the Mary Keitany of late 2014 might have maintained the challenge, this 2015 version—very much focused on the London Marathon ten weeks away—had to give ground, covering the second 10km in 31:28 (Kiplagat, 30:48). Two kilometres later it became apparent that the target was now her course record (and then-world record) of 65:50, set in 2011. But while that slipped by too, the reason could well have been the need to focus on the race at hand, for 22-year-old Mamitu Daska of Ethiopia, proved a stubborn challenger when others had receded, and only lost ground on the would-be champion at around 17km.
The men’s race didn’t unfold according to script with the first 5km hit in 14:33. With 10k reached in 28:56, it was natural to expect a surge, but when it did manifest itself, it was not decisive enough and the pack was still nine strong at 15km. Winner Ethiopian Mosinet Geremew clocked 1:00:05 ahead of five Kenyans: Daniel Wanjiru 1:00:06; Jonathan Maiyo 1:00:07; Edwin Kiptoo 1:00:10 (personal best); Mike Kigen 1:00:14; and favorite Eliud Kipchoge 1:00:50, who had dropped back at around 16km and struggled from there on.
—EME News, with the help from release of the organisers