Kenya’s Mary Keitany continued her unbeaten streak after returning to racing last spring following a maternity break when she won the RAK Half Marathon in 1:06:02 on Friday (13).
Keitany and three rivals – her compatriots Cynthia Limo and Josephine Chepkoech as well as Ethiopia’s Mamitu Daska – started the race at world record pace and went through 10km in 31:07, one second faster than Florence Kiplagat’s split in Barcelona last year prior to her clocking a world record 1:05:12.
Limo and Chepkoech dropped away during the next 5km as Keitany and Daska passed the 15km checkpoint in 46:41.
Over the next 5km, the chances of a world record ebbed away but Keitany pulled away from Daska, the latter having the race of her life, before clinching the win. Her winning time was just 12 seconds adrift of her own course record set in 2011, which was a world record at the time and stood as the global standard until Kiplagat’s feat in the Catalan city a year ago.
Daska was almost two minutes quicker than ever before, setting an Ethiopian record of 1:06:27.
Limo won the battle for third from Chepkoech, the pair clocking 1:07:02 and 1:07:32, personal bests for both runners.
The men’s race didn’t produce the sub-60 time expected, mainly due to a relatively sluggish opening 5km of 14:32 but nevertheless was still a thriller with Ethiopia’s Mosinet Geremew winning a three-man battle for the line in 1:00:05.
No fewer than five Kenyans followed him home. Daniel Wanjiru was second and Jonathan Maiyo third in 1:00:06 and 1:00:07; Geremew edging away from the pair in the final few hundred metres.
Edwin Kiptoo and Mike Kigen were fourth and fifth in 1:00:10 and 1:00:14, both men were still in contention with one kilometre remaining but soon ceased to be a factor in the battle for places on the podium.
Race favourite Eliud Kipchoge finished sixth in 1:00:50 after falling away from the leading pack shortly after 15km.
Phil Minshull for the IAAF