Steve Lambert,

Editor (Sport)


Ethiopian runner Kenenisa Bekele pipped Olympic gold medallist, Mo Farah, to the post last weekend to claim victory in the Great North Run by a mere second. The 13-mile race, which is the most popular of its kind in the UK, ended with a tense finale with no more than a few metres between the Ethiopian and the Brit by the time they came to a halt.

Although it seemed like the 30-year-old Farah had no chance of winning, a spirited sprint in the last 400m saw him close down a significant gap, only to finish just behind a steady Bekele. Both runners finished the course, which has participants race between Newcastle upon Tyne and South Shields, in just over an hour. Third place fell to Haile Gebrselassie, who was out of contention by the time Farah and Bekele were fighting for the top spot. Nonetheless, Gebrselassie’s time of 1:01:41 was a world record for runners aged 40 and above.

In the women’s race, Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo, who was just five seconds off breaking the women’s half marathon record, beat Ethiopian Meseret Defar by 24 to claim victory in the female equivalent. Jeptoo’s time now stands as the third best time in recorded history, only five seconds slower than Brit Paula Radcliffe.

Of course the Great North Run isn’t just about the elite’s, and thousands of amateur runners lined the pavement to raise money for charity and push themselves to their limits at the very same time. The large scale run involved people from all walks of life and a multitude of well known personalities took part, including Emmerdale’s Tony Audenshaw, ex-footballer Robbie Savage, Spice Girl Mel C and many more.

Image Courtesy: Robbie Dale (Flickr: Bekele vs Farah), via Wikimedia Commons