On Friday evening in Bahrain, the Bahrain Night Half saw some very fast results as runners chased one of the biggest prize purses in road racing.
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The top four men were only separated by seven seconds and with $100,000 USD on the line, that’s a painful margin to lose by. Abadi Hadis took the win in 59:42, followed by Jemal Yimer in 59:45. Bernard Ngeno was third in 59:47 and Fikadu Haftu was fourth, in 59:49.
To make matters worse for second place runner Yimer, he was actually in the lead with about 50 metres to go, but stopped short of the finish line and celebrated, unaware of where the finish line actually was. Had he not made this mistake, he likely would’ve taken the win and an extra $75,000.
In the women’s race, Brigid Kosgei, the 2018 Chicago champion, took the win in 1:05:28 which is less than 40 seconds off of the women’s world record. Second place went to Ruth Chepngetich in 1:06:09 and third place went to Netsanet Gudeta in 1:06:49.
After the huge first-place prize, the money drops off by 75 per cent. Second place gets $25,000 and third place gets $15,000, and then there’s another drop after the podium finishes with fourth only taking home $10,000 USD. The elite fields were so tight that in the men’s race, seven seconds was the difference between $100,000 and $10,000.
The Bahrain Night Half has a few kinks to work out. Let’s Run reports that there was a car on the course at one point, it was nearly impossible to find results post-race and when they finally surfaced they were incorrect. With stacked fields and huge prize money, the race has the capability of becoming a world-class event so long as the logistics are smoothed out in the future.