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Jacob Kiplimo narrowly misses his own world record at RAK Half Marathon

Olympic medallists and world record holders threw down fast times at UAE's Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon

The half marathon world record holder, Uganda’s Jacob Kiplimo, managed to take home the victory at the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon but fell just 25 seconds short of his half-marathon world record of 57:31. Two women had a day to remember as they set records of their own โ€“ Ethiopia’s Girmawit Gebrzihair won the race in a course record time (64:14) while making her half-marathon debut, and Eilish McColgan (66:26) broke Paula Radcliffe’s long-standing British half-marathon record, in what was only her second outing at the distance.

Kiplimo got out to a blazing start, hitting the 5K mark in 13:23 and 10K in 26:56. His goal heading into the race was to lower his record on this fast United Arab Emirates course, which has gained a reputation for fast times. Once Kiplimo reached 15K, he was still on the world record pace, setting a world best time of 40:43 (2:43/km). Unfortunately, he faded over the last six kilometres to finish shy of his WR in 57:56. Kiplimo now possesses three of the top five half marathon times in history.

Rodgers Kwemoi of Kenya finished 34 seconds behind Kiplimo for second place and his compatriot Kenneth Renju (58:35) was third. All of the top three men finished under the previous course record of 58:42.

In the womenโ€™s race, eight of the main contenders stuck closely together early on as went out on pace for a sub-64 time. The lead group included the 2020 RAK winner Ababel Yeshaneh, Gebrzihair, Kenyaโ€™s Hellen Obiri, Sheila Chepkirui and 1,500m world record holder Genzebe Dibaba.

Obiri, Gebrzihair and Chepkirui began to separate themselves from the group at the 15K mark, but it was Gebrzihair who hung on for the win down the stretch, with the two-time Olympic silver medallist, Obiri, placing second in a personal best time of 64:22. Chepkirui was third in 64:36.

Among the top 10 was British runner McColgan, who shattered her mother’s (Liz McColgan) half marathon best time of 67:11 and the great Paula Radcliffe’s national record of 66:47, which was set back in 2001. McColgan ran solo from the 5K mark, as the leaders went out at a sub-64 pace. McColgan managed to pick off several runners as they dropped from the lead group, finishing sixth overall in 66:26.