Friday, 24th March 2023
Article Image

Bekele wins thrilling finish ahead of Mo Farah

by Press Release
Monday 16th September 2013
Tags  Bupa Great North Run   |   Mo Farah   |   Kenenisa Bekele   |   Haile Gebrselassie   |   Priscah Jeptoo   |   Meseret Defar   |   Tirunesh Dibaba

Race report: Bupa Great North Run - Sunday, September 15, 2013

Mo Farah became Great Britain's fastest ever half marathon runner but in one of the greatest ever finishes to the Bupa Great North Run he was beaten in a thriller by Kenenisa Bekele, his predecessor as the World's best 5000m and 10,000m performer.

The pair along with Haile Gebrselassie, the greatest distance runner of all-time, fought a magnificent battle from Newcastle to South Shields with a tactical move from Bekele setting him up to gain the narrowest of victories.

Bekele like Farah a "double-double" Olympic and World Championships gold medallist, and making his debut at the distance, hit the front with a powerful turn of speed with just over a mile remaining to win the nail-biting contest by a second in a time of 1:00:09.

When he went clear going down the steep incline at Redwell Bank and turned left on the coast road towards the finish line it seemed he had broken the spirit of both Farah and his fellow Ethiopian, Haile Gebrselassie. The leader quickly opened a 20m gap which continued to get bigger and bigger  ahead of a still challenging Farah who had been caught by surprise with the unexpected break.

Gebrselassie, who won the race in 2010, became a totally spent force after leading virtually from the start but still had the satisfaction of clocking a new World Veteran's record of 1:00:41.

Farah never threw in the towel and gradually clawed his way back and almost onto the shoulder of Bekele in the final 200m but just could not edge his body ahead of the African who finally proved after three years with injury problems, he is a world beater.

A victory for him seemed very unlikely when the 31-year-old fell away after five miles into the race, his rivals were clearly surprised at what seemed to be a very premature demise occurring at a steady pace.

But Bekele although a 13.1 miles rookie was playing mind games with the pair and felt that if stayed with the other contenders, Farah in particular, the latter would slow the pace down and put faith in his phenomenal finishing speed which saw him win last month's World 5000m and 1000m crowns in Moscow.

Instead his decision which saw him at one point running even paced 100m adrift, before forcing himself back into contention and at 10 miles covered in 44:41, was sitting relaxed on the shoulders as Gebrselassie continued taking the initiative.

Then came Bekele's lightning burst down "Heartbreak Hill" where the course dramatically drops 33m and in the past because of the steepness has imposed problems for competitors fighting to retain their balance and momentum. It did seem it was all over until Farah switched into top gear and with 400m remaining began a dramatic chase which would have seen him become the first  British male champion since Steve Kenton in 1985. But Bekele with the bit between his teeth and despite the home crowd roaring on Farah kept his nerve, just managing in the final 10m to keep his frame marginally at the helm.

Farah intending to move up to the full marathon distance next spring, said: “When Kenenisa went, he just went suddenly down that hill and I just couldn’t quite respond. But you learn the tactics and hopefully now  I’ll take my break and start to get ready for the marathon. The 30-year-old admitted: “As an athlete you are always going to be disappointed at losing and you don’t want to lose a race but to lose against Kenenisa - he’s a great athlete.

"It would’ve been nice to come out here and win it but it came right to the line and Kenenisa’s been training for this event and he’s in good shape. For me, my main aim of the year was the World Championships and that’s the one I’ve been training for all year round. We showed today, in terms of the field and race, it was a great race especially with Haile pushing on early. I guess this race was awesome in terms of having the three of us going against each other.”

Bekele delighted with his debut victory, said: "Really since before the World Championships I was concentrating and training hard and I felt confident. My injury was getting better and better. Really I wasn't tired."

Gebrselassie who smashed the World Vets 10k record at the Bupa Great Manchester Run in May, said: "These two gentlemen did a good job. I broke another Masters record so at least I'm going home with something."

Priscah Jeptoo's victory in the women's race ahead of Meseret Defar and Tirunesh Dibaba the defending champion, may have been considered a surprise by many, but in reality she came into the race with far superior performances than the two Ethiopians.

Jeptoo was content to follow the World's greatest ever distance track runners until breaking first Dibaba at eight miles and then just over a mile further down the road Defar and passing through 10 miles in 51:41.

The Kenyan who earlier in the year clocked a tremendous time of 1:06:11 in Ras Al Khaimah showed no respite in her form and motored like a whirlwind despite the wet conditions to win in 1:05:45 - just five seconds shy of the World best performance Paula Radcliffe achieved 10-years earlier in the Bupa Great North Run.

Jeptoo also had the satisfaction of emulating Radcliffe's achievement of winning both the London Marathon and Bupa Great North Run in the same year when stifling the threats from her two fellow African athletes. 

"That was amazing," said Jeptoo. "I watched the Ethiopian's on the track at the World Championships and saw how good they were. I trained hard to come here and beat them. They are tough runners. It was a great race."

Defar was rewarded for her efforts when becoming the fastest ever performer from her country with a time of 1:06:09 while Dibaba lowered her personal best in what was only her second half marathon to 1:06:56.

David Weir chalked up a fifth victory in the men's wheelchair race and but for the heavy winds and wet weather would almost certainly have gone quicker than his time of 43:06.

The "Weirwolf" and superstar of the the London Paralympic Games easily defeated Josh Cassidy, his great Canadian rival, who was chasing a third successive win, but was knocked off course initially after two miles when suffering mechancial problems.

Cassidy still continued to cross the line in 45:21 with Spain's Rafa Botello Jiminez sixth on his last Great North appearance four years ago, following him home in 45:37.

Weir said: “I was quite cautious on the start because the roads were really greasy, since I’ve been back training all I have done is attack the hills so I just needed to see who was good on the hills or not. Josh looked pretty strong but I knew I just needed to stay close to them and then I thought ‘right I should go’," he said. “I think it went a little bit too early maybe as I’ve only been back pushing fully for two weeks. I just felt my lungs go a little bit but I got through that period and then it was very fast."

Weir recalling his descent down "Heartbreak Hill" added: “You’ve just got to brake all the way down that final hill bit – there’s no point in taking risks as you’ve got to finish. But it was the first time I’ve done the last bit with no headwind whatsoever – it was really strange the wind, I thought this would be toughest section  but it wasn’t this year."

Shelly Woods also comfortably won a fifth title in 54:28 ahead of fellow Brits Jade Jones and Meggan Dawson-Farrell who recorded marks of 57:17 and 1:16:23.

“It was good," said Woods. "It was very British conditions out there, so it wasn’t easy and it was quite swirly out there but it was good and it was great to get the win. I felt comfortable and I’m happy with my time and my race. There weren’t international girls here but Jade is always good competition and today I was just thinking about going for a decent performance and chasing as many of the guys as I could.”

Check out www.greatrun.org for more information

Men's results

1 KENENISA BEKELE   01:00:09
2 MO FARAH Newham & Essex Beagles AC 01:00:10
4 ARATA FUJIWARA   01:02:44
6 RYUJI WATANABE   01:02:58
7 MARK KENNEALLY Clonliffe Harriers 01:04:06
8 YUKI KAWAUCHI   01:04:08
9 YARED HAGOS Wallsend Harriers & AC 01:04:14


Women's results

1 PRISCAH JEPTOO   01:05:45
2 MESERET DEFAR   01:06:09
3 TIRUNESH DIBABA   01:06:56
6 MISAKI KATO   01:10:44
7 LISA STUBLIC   01:13:00
8 AYAKA HITOMI   01:13:09
9 JESSICA AUGUSTO   01:13:51
10 JILLY WOODTHORPE Barnsley Athletic Club 01:14:31


Click here for full results


Related Articles

Article Image
A Bucket List Tick In EthiopiaJane Hansom reports from the Great Ethiopian Run
Article Image
Train and race with Run-Fast in EthiopiaTraining camp: A 10-day running holiday of a lifetime - November 13-23, 2015
Article Image
London Marathon 2015 Elite Race Preview ...Gavin Smith of Elite Running Coach (www.eliterunningcoach.com) provides some in-...
Article Image
Video: The 2015 Vitality North London Ha...Video: Video footage of the men's and women's podium winners from the Vitality N...
Article Image
Steel, Thompson and Farah kick off 2018 ...Gemma Steel, Chris Thompson and Mo Farah run the Ooredoo Doha Half
Article Image
Wanjiru to race Mo and Callum at the Big...2017 London Marathon men's winner to take part in Big Half
Article Image
Get ready for a great British smackdown ...Sir Mo Farah and Callum Hawkins go head-to-head at The Big Half
Article Image
Watch Mo Farah running in Dubai with 360...Join the gold medal-winning Olympian on his run across Dubai

Post A Comment

TereréJordan Blood