The field of the 2009 RAK Half-Marathon in Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates, is stacked! The elite field for the Feb. 20, race boasts 13 men who have broken the one-hour mark and 11 women who have broken 70 minutes. The runners are attracted by the fast course and the USD 400,000 prize money purse, the largest of any commercial half-marathon.
Sitting atop the men's field is reigning IAAF World Half-Marathon silver medalist Patrick Makau of Kenya (58:56 PB). His compatriots in the race include Paul Kosgei (59:07), Wilson Kiprotich (59:16), Francis Kibiwott (59:26), Wilson Chebet (59:33), John Kiprotich (59:44), Charles Munyeki (59:44), Mekubo Moguso (59:48), and Joseph Maregu (59:45). The Ethiopian "team" is led by newly crowned Chevron Houston Marathon champion Deribe Merga (59:15) and Tilahun Regassa (59:34). Tanzanian Dickson Marwa (59:52) and South African Hendrick Ramaala (59:20).
Forty-one year-old Edith Masai is the fastest athlete in the women's field (1:07:16 PB), but her Kenyan compatriot Philes Ongori is probably the event favorite with a 1:07:57 to her credit from Marugame one year ago. Other Kenyan athletes in the field include Julia Mombi (1:08:31), Lydia Cheromei (1:08:35), Lucy Wangui Kabuu (1:09:47), Pauline Wangui (1:09:49), Salina Kosgei (1:07:52) and Magdaline Mukunzi (1:08:52). Ethiopia is sending Aselefech Mergia (1:08:17), Derartu Tulu (1:07:03), Teyiba Erkesso (1:10:00), Elfenesh Alemu (1:09:46), Abebu Gelan (1:10:59), and Ashu Kasim Rabo (1:10:19).
The race records are 58:53 by Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya set in 2007, and 1:10:58 by Berhane Adere of Ethiopia set the same year.