WORLD-CLASS ELITE ATHLETES COUNT DOWN TO THE RAS AL KHAIMAH HALF-MARATHON
More Than 40 Elites to Line Up at World’s Fastest Half Marathon

Ras Al Khaimah, UAE, 22 February 2024: Held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, UAE Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, the 17th Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon will see more than 40 world-class elite athletes run alongside thousands of amateur runners when the annual event gets underway on Saturday (February 24).

The elite field is one of the strongest ever assembled in the history of the event, with Olympic, World, and European Champions, Marathon Major Winners, and former World Record holders all vying for a share of the AED 1.2 million ($326,000) total prize and bonus money.

As well as elites chasing record times over the 21.1km half marathon distance, amateur runners from around the world will also compete in the four-race event, with all runs taking place on routes on Al Marjan Island, a unique cluster of four coral-shaped islands in a man-made archipelago.

Hosted by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the half marathon has attracted the likes of World Half Marathon and Olympic Marathon Champion Peres Jepchirchir of Kenya, 2022 World Marathon Champion and 2023 New York City Marathon Champion Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia, and Germany’s European 5,000m Champion Konstanze ‘Koko’ Klosterhalfen.

Running legend and TV presenter Paula Radcliffe, Race Director Peter Connerton, Alka Winter VP Destination Marketing & Communications, Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, with elite runners Koko Klosterhalfen, Peres Jepchirchir, and Tamirat Tola at the pre-event press briefing at RIXOS Bab Al Bahr.
February 22, 2024.

Raki Phillips, Chief Executive Officer Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority, said: “”The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon taking place this weekend is set to be the most exciting yet in its 17-year history, with incredible elite athletes participating.

“The sporting event continues to attract the biggest names while keeping its community spirit and attracting more participants each year from the UAE and worldwide. From Olympic champions to enthusiastic children running alongside their parents, this event provides the right opportunity to showcase Ras Al Khaimah as an outstanding sporting destination while also being a leader in outdoor and adventure-focused tourism.”

All the elite runners have arrived on Al Marjan Island eager to get to grips with the new-look course. And with the Paris Olympics just five months away, the Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon is ideal preparation for the elites who will represent their countries in the summer. For Kenya’s Peres Jepchirchir, it is also a chance to reacquaint herself with a place where she broke the women’s half marathon world record in 2017.

“I have a lot of great memories from here – I really began to believe in myself when I set the world record,” she said at the pre-event press briefing at RIXOS Bab Al Bahr. “My training has gone well since I was injured after winning the world title in Riga last year, but it is hard to predict how I’ll do this weekend with so many great athletes here.”

“It is little wonder that the elite women are so keen to run in Ras Al Khaimah – no other half marathon in the world has seen the women’s world record or world best broken more often than in Ras Al Khaimah. It has happened thrice (2011, 2017, and 2020) since world half marathon records were first listed in 1984. ”

“I’m very excited to be with the best runners in the world at the world’s fastest half marathon,” said European golden girl Koko Klosterhalfen, who will be making only her second appearance at the half marathon distance, having won on her debut in Valencia in 2022. “I won’t focus on the result but just on running my best and taking it from there.”

While a great deal of interest will be on the women’s race, Ethiopian fans will be keen to see the first appearance in Ras Al Khaimah of former Marathon World Champion Tamirat Tola, who broke a 12-year-old course record when winning the New York City Marathon just three months ago.

“I’m happy to come here for the first time as it’s a flat and fast course for me,” he said. “I set my personal best seven years ago (59:37), so I aim to go under 59 minutes on Saturday.”

Three-time world half marathon champion Paula Radcliffe, who will provide expert TV commentary when the race is broadcast live worldwide, added: “I’ve read so much about this race, so it’s a great thrill for me to be here for the first time. The race comes at the right time for the athletes, and it’s a course that I’d love to have run in my prime – the fast, flat curves and gentle bends are a great test and won’t affect runners who are used to much track work.”

As well as the half marathon, race day will also see runners competing in a 2km Family Fun Run, a 5km Road Race, and, for the first time, a 10km Road Race. The half marathon will start at 7am, with the 5km/10km race at 9.30am and the 2km Family Fun Run at 10.30am.

Online registration for all four races will remain open until Friday (February 23), with latecomers able to collect their run numbers from the RAKTDA grounds on Al Marjan Island until 8pm. Late registration can be made at rakhalfmarathon.com

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Picture Caption: Peres Jepchirchir checks out her World Record-breaking time from 2017 in Ras Al Khaimah

About Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)

The Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) was established in May 2011 under the government of Ras Al Khaimah. RAKTDA aims to develop the Emirate’s tourism infrastructure and establish Ras Al Khaimah as a world-class destination for leisure and business travel, creating sustainable investment opportunities and enhancing the quality of life for its residents. To achieve its goals, the Authority has a government mandate to license, regulate, and monitor the Emirate’s tourism and hospitality industry.

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