This is the world’s richest half marathon and an event that applauds the achievements of all participating athletes, many of whom are UAE residents or nationals.
The field for this year’s 21.0975km RAK International Half Marathon is expected to reach 1700 runners, an increase of nearly 70% over last year. This highlights the rise in profile of Ras Al Khaimah in addition to the inclusive nature of the race that awards prizes to those competing in all categories.
Mr. Nathan Clayton, Race Director of RAK International Half Marathon, said of Rakeen’s sponsorship:
“We extremely pleased to welcome back Rakeen as an official sponsor of our event. It is extremely gratifying to have the support of companies based in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, as we aim to attract not only the top athletes from around the world, but to provide a competitive platform that showcases runners based here. The RAK International Half Marathon is based around a passion for the individual runner, regardless of their level of ability.”
With total prize money of more than $200,000 the RAK International Half Marathon is the world’s richest in its category. 10% of all prize winnings will be donated to the Official Race Charity, The Paul Tergat Foundation, an organisation that helps disadvantaged African children. In 2007, The RAK International Half Marathon raised and donated over $27,500 through donations and sponsorship from individual runners.
Categories in this eclectic event include Men’s and Women’s Masters, UAE Nation or Resident, four Team Relay Challenges (including school, college and university categories) as well as Best Costume Category.
Many eyes will be on the Open Category, which attracts an international field of world-class runners. When the race was run for the first time in 2007, a new Half Marathon World Record of 58 minutes and 53 seconds was set by Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya. Key runners in the men’s field include Patrick Makau Musyoki of Kenya, last year’s runner-up.
Of the female runners, ones to watch include Kenyan Pamela Chepchumba, who gained a bronze medal at the IAAF Word Road Running Championships in Udine, Italy. Alice Timbilili and Saline Kosgei also have numerous accolades to their name, making the field wide open.
His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Chairman of Customs and Ports Department of Ras Al Khaimah, hosted the official athlete reception lunch sponsored by Rakeen. Delegates included around 120 competing athletes from the UAE and around the world, members of the press, race organisers and sponsors.
Greg Fairlie, Media Director of RAK International Half Marathon commented, “We are doubly grateful to Rakeen for making the athlete reception lunch possible. No other half marathon in the world can boast such an impressive entry list and the reception lunch provided a rare and welcome opportunity for the press to talk to, and meet with, top athletes from all over the world.”
Dr. Imad Haffar, Chief Operating Officer of Rakeen, summed up by saying: “We consider it a privilege to be sponsoring the RAK International Half Marathon for a second year. We are proud to be a part of this prestigious event that celebrates personal triumphs, as well as helping to put Ras Al Khaimah firmly on the map. Together with the 20,000+ spectators expected to attend the event, we wish every one of the athletes competing the very best for Friday’s race!”
The RAK International Half Marathon begins at 7.30am (8.00am for Team Relay Challenge entrants) on Friday February 8, 2008.
Thursday, February 7- 2008 @ 10:13 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.