Derek Otieno and agencies
Vivian Cheruiyot proved her preparations for November’s TCS New York City Marathon are on track as she won her second Simplyhealth Great North Run, regaining the title she first claimed in 2016.
Improving her half-marathon PB by a single second, the Olympic 5000m champion and London Marathon winner ran 67:43 to beat the time she clocked when finishing runner-up to Mary Keitany in South Shields last year.
In warm and sunny but blustery conditions, Brigid Kosgei (67:52) and Joyciline Jepkosgei (68:10) followed Cheruiyot over the finish line to complete a Kenyan clean sweep as their compatriot Linet Masai was fourth in 68:11.
Cheruiyot was always to the fore in her first race since her marathon win in the UK capital in April. She was joined by Kosgei, Jepkosgei, Masai, New Zealand’s Camille Buscomb and USA’s Stephanie Bruce in a lead group which went through 5km in 16:43 and she passed 10km in 33:03.
At 15km the clock showed 48:35 as the lead group was down to Cheruiyot, Kosgei, Jepkosgei and Masai. Their compatriot Betsy Saina had dropped out by this point and after laying on the ground and holding her left leg, she was supported by members of the public until medical attention arrived.
Cheruiyot then made her move, with only Kosgei able to go with her. Through 20km, Cheruiyot was a stride ahead of her rival and the gap only continued to grow, ending in a seven-second margin of victory.
“I am happy to be a winner today and I am looking forward to being here next year,” said the 34-year-old, who like men’s winner Mo Farah reiterated that her track days are now well and truly over.
“This was preparation for New York, to test myself. I now know where I am and I am going to train for my next marathon.”
Kosgei is in training for her next marathon too, as she’s due to race in Chicago next month, but she struggled with pain in her knees and hamstrings which forced her to ease her pace and concede defeat.
Jepkosgei has also had injury trouble since her world half-marathon record of 64:51 in Valencia last October and was pleased with her performance as a good test of her fitness as she eyes a move up to the marathon.
British record holder Mo Farah won a record fifth consecutive title
Farah clocked a time of 59:26 over the 13.1 mile point-to-point course to take the men’s honours
It was a repeat of last year with Farah getting the better of New Zealand’s Jake Robertson, who finished 31 seconds back in second.
After an electric first mile of 4:22 the numbers in the lead group dwindled to four with Farah at the head of the pack making all the moves as Robertson, Daniel Wanjiru and Bashir Abdi hung on.Farah’s running was a little erratic, possibly tactical too, with the British star continuously looking around at his competitors.
At times Robertson and Wanjiru, the 2017 London Marathon Champion, looked more comfortable than Farah, but never in control. Neither have the out and out speed of the multiple track Olympic medallist, and Farah knew this all too well. Wanjiru, then Abdi, fell foul of the fast pace, with Robertson doing his best to hold on.