The 2024 USATF Indoor Championships are being held at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico on
Friday, February 16, and Saturday, February 17.

Konstanze Klosterhalfen is one of the few Europeans who have successfully challenged East African superiority in long distance running in recent years; but the German star will have a mass challenge from Kenyans and Ethiopians in her next venture, the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon on Saturday February 24.


The reigning European 5000 metres champion ‘Koko,’ to her fans, won bronze in the World Championships at that same distance in 2019, but her debut victory over a posse of leading East Africans in the Valencia Half Marathon in October 2022 signalled not only a step-up in prestige but also potential for success in the full marathon. And RAK in nine days’ time will be another stepping stone.


The RAK ‘half’ has been one of the fastest 21.1k races in the world since its inception 17 years ago in one of the smaller emirates in the UAE. The list of winners and record breakers reads like a ‘who’s who’ of distance running. Leading this year’s women’s field and a formidable opponent for Klosterhalfen is reigning Olympic marathon champion and three-time world ‘half’ winner, Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, who set a then world record of 65:06 when she ran RAK in 2017. Burgeoning competition and the advent of super-shoes has resulted in that record now standing at 62.52, to Letesenbet Gidey of Ethiopia.


Klosterhalfen’s debut win in Valencia came in 65:41; and with another former world record holder – Ababel Yeshaneh of Ethiopia (64:31) in the RAK field, the German will not have an easy task, the more so since she took a break in the second half of last summer season, and has not raced for six months. She was understandably cautious this week when she said, ‘Overall I am happy with how my training has been going and I’m ready to test myself and see exactly where I am after a good training camp. I’m certainly looking forward to returning to racing, especially at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon as it is a race I’ve heard a lot about’.


Klosterhalfen spends a lot of time training at altitude in the USA, and in her quieter moments has walked the runway at Berlin Fashion Week, and also plays piano and flute; but running full tilt for just over an hour before breakfast will be the order of the morning a week on Saturday.


For online entry and more information please visit: https://rakcalendar.ae


Photo Konstanze Klosterhalfen credit: Giancarlo Colombo

This is the first of two features by Oliver Hinson on the Millrose Games 2024. This feature is on the Men’s races. Millrose Games was held on February 11, 2024.

Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder in the marathon, and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed in an auto accident last Sunday night on a lonely, dark highway in Kenya. 

This is Oliver Hinson’s second feature on the 116th Millrose Games.