Athletes are running faster because of improved training, says legend Radcliffe

The Briton believes records will be set at the Ras Al Khaimah half marathon

By Team KT

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Paula Radcliffe held the women’s marathon world record for 16 years. - Supplied photo
Paula Radcliffe held the women’s marathon world record for 16 years. - Supplied photo

Published: Wed 7 Feb 2024, 6:52 PM

LegendaryBritish athlete Paula Radcliffe MBE will have her eye on new course records when she checks out the latest wealth of distance runners taking part in the 2024 Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon in the UAE on February 24.

The 17th Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon will see a host of world-class women athletes led by reigning world half marathon and Olympic marathon champion Peres Jepchirchir.


Like Jepchirchir, Radcliffe has three world half marathon world titles of her own and has no doubt that the technical changes on the athletics landscape could see the winning times lowered once again in the seafront emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, a venue that has witnessed three ratified world records in 16 years.

Hosted by the Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA), the event has consistently proved to be one of the fastest half marathons on the international circuit with the 21km race staged on the spectacular and iconic Al Marjan Island.


“It’s only now we are seeing the full extent of the benefits of development in running shoe technology unfold and grow,” said seven-time marathon Major winner Radcliffe, who will provide expert TV analysis in Ras Al Khaimah.

“It isn’t just the improved efficiency and less ‘dead legs’ at 30km, it is also improved quality, volume and recovery of training stacked up over time.

“We are now seeing people running faster and faster because they have had over a year of improved training, racing and recovery. People also now expect to run faster, so the psychological bar has also been raised.”

While it may not yet have the global sporting reputation of its fellow emirates Dubai and Abu Dhabi, when it comes to hosting record times Ras Al Khaimah is in a field of its own with those three ratified world records - Mary Keitany (2011), Peres Jepchirchir (2017) and Ababel Yeshaneh (2021) having all broken the women’s world record in the 16-year history of the event.

“I do see records continuing to fall although that women's record in the half (Letesenbet Gidey recorded a 62m:52s in a mixed race in 2021) already blows my mind so it’s really hard to see that falling much further,” added Radcliffe.

“I think we’re going to see more winning times consistently below 65 minutes, especially on fast courses like Ras Al Khaimah with its great fields and organisation, while we are also seeing more and more depth across the board.”

“It’s a race I have wanted to attend for a very long time, so I am delighted to finally get the opportunity,” said Radcliffe, who held the women’s marathon world record for 16 years and was Half Marathon World Champion in 2000, 2001 and 2003. “It’s certainly a route I would have liked to have run in my prime.”

The Ras Al Khaimah Half Marathon will also see thousands of runners coming together in the associated 10km, 5km and 2km runs with registration open at rakhalfmarathon.com

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