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MATEIKO, GEBRESELAMA SHINE IN RAS AL KHAIMAH HALF MARATHON

MATEIKO, GEBRESELAMA SHINE IN RAS AL KHAIMAH HALF MARATHON

Saturday, February 24, 2024/ Editor -  

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Thousands Run with the Elites on Al Marjan Island 

Ras Al Khaimah (UAE), 24 February, 2024: 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 saw victory go to Kenya's Daniel Mateiko and Tsigie Gebreselama of Ethiopia.
Making his third appearance in Ras Al Khaimah, Mateiko lit up a foggy morning to storm home in a time of 58:45 and win by five seconds from compatriot John Korir (58:50), while Isaia Lasoi made it a clean sweep for Kenya in the men's event finishing third (58:55).


In the women's race, Ethiopia's Tsigie Gebreselama smashed her personal best by more than 30 seconds to win in 65:14 from 2020 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon champion Ababel Yeshaneh (65:44), also from Ethiopia. Tanzania's Jacklin Sakilu was a surprise third beating her personal best by more than three minutes (66:04)
The two winners, who saw off competition from a powerful field of World and Olympic Champions, received their trophies from His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Raki Phillips, CEO of Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA) and Arch. Abdullah Al Abdooli, CEO of Marjan.
Hosted by the Ras Al Khaimah Development Authority (RAKTDA), the race was held exclusively for the first time on the fast and flat roads of Al Marjan Island and the elites took it in their stride despite unusual weather conditions which saw visibility limited to around 50m at the finish line.


A delighted Mateiko was relieved to finally get a win in Ras Al Khaimah after finishing sixth on his debut in 2022 and runner-up to Benard Koech last year.
'I was the fastest man in the field and I promised myself I'd win here after finishing sixth and then second last year,' said the charismatic 25 year-old Kenyan, who dedicated his win to the late Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world record holder who tragically lost his life this month.
'The conditions were very difficult – it was windy, humid and a little foggy – so this is definitely the best win of my career so far.'


While Mateiko saw off a world-class field that included defending champion Benard Koech, who finished fifth (59:42), and New York Marathon champion Tamirat Tola who took seventh, in the women's event the hugely talented Tsigie Gebreselama underlined why she is considered of her country's finest prospects.
'I am so happy to have run a personal best today,' said the 23 year-old, runner-up in the Cross Country World Championship and a woman on a mission to break a world record.
'I was very worried about Peres (Jepchirchir) in this race so I was surprised when she dropped back. It's a great win for me and, while it's too early in my career to think about the Paris Olympics, my aim is to break the half marathon world record.'


Olympic marathon champion Jepchirchir, one of the pre-race favourites and a three-time half marathon world champion, suffered a set-back early on in the race when a shoe slipped off, costing her at least 20 seconds.
In addition to the elite field, the event saw over 5,700 runners compete across four race categories. As well as the half marathon, which drew the biggest turnout, running enthusiasts competed in 5km, 10km and 2km races on a day when the sport's best distance athletes rubbed shoulders with runners from all over the world.
The 2024 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon was also sponsored by RAK Ports, adidas, RIXOS Bab Al Bahr, Channel 4 Radio Network. ITP Media Group and Bisleri.


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