SIM­PLY­HEALTH GREAT NORTH RUN

MO FARAH AND MARY KEI­TANY VICTORIOUS AT THE WORLD’S BIGGEST HALF-MARATHON

Athletics Weekly - - News - RE­PORTS: EUAN CRUMLEY (MEN) & JESS WHITTINGTON (WOMEN) PIC­TURES: NORTH NEWS & MARK SHEAR­MAN

Mo Farah out­kicks Jake Robert­son to take his fourth Great North Run ti­tle while Mary Kei­tany claims the women’s win on Ty­ne­side

THE PLAN amongst a few mem­bers of the elite men’s field had been to work to­gether, to push the pace hard straight away and try to hurt Mo Farah.

It had been a long and tir­ing year for the man who re­tained his world 10,000m crown in Lon­don dur­ing the sum­mer, af­ter all.

The strat­egy al­most worked, too. Al­most.

Af­ter the at­tempts of Dathan Ritzen­hein, Fey­isa Lilesa and Zane and Jake Robert­son, it was the lat­ter of the twin broth­ers from New Zealand who found him­self as the last one stand­ing with Farah as the pair stretched away from the rest of the field in the clos­ing stages of the Sim­ply­health Great North Run. Robert­son was the pic­ture of con­tain­ment and calm while, on his shoul­der, the strain was writ­ten all over Farah’s fea­tures. The 34-year-old ad­mit­ted later he had al­most been bro­ken with three miles to go. Yet he clung on and, with 400m to go – just as Robert­son made a fi­nal bid to surge clear – Farah en­gaged his trade­mark fin­ish, streak­ing away to round off an­other mem­o­rable year with a record fourth con­sec­u­tive vic­tory at this event.

That he fell flat on his back af­ter crossing the line in 60:06 spoke vol­umes about the ef­fort Farah had been forced to ex­pend, with Robert­son – who ran 60:00 in win­ning the Lis­bon Half Marathon ear­lier this year – com­ing home in 60:12 and Olympic marathon sil­ver medal­list Lilesa third in 61:32.

“Jake pushed the pace on and he al­most got rid of me,” said Farah, who ad­mit­ted a lack of train­ing had al­most cost him dearly. “I wasn’t go­ing to tell him that but he al­most got rid of me with three miles to go.

“There was def­i­nitely willpower in get­ting my­self to the line first, be­cause it’s been hard to mo­ti­vate my­self af­ter Zurich (his fi­nal track race), af­ter the world cham­pi­onships. It’s harder. I’m sore. Ev­ery part of my mus­cles is aching be­cause I did run hard and there was a lack of train­ing.”

Farah had been at the head of af­fairs as the field crossed the Tyne Bridge in blus­tery

con­di­tions, but the race re­ally be­gan to kick into gear as the route en­tered Gateshead.

Zane Robert­son, 16th in the 10,000m at the IAAF World Cham­pi­onships this sum­mer, hit the front be­fore Amer­i­can Ritzen­hein, run­ner-up to Farah last year, took over and led the group also con­tain­ing the likes of Jake Robert­son, Lelisa, Ja­pan’s Hiroyuki Ya­mamoto and Welsh­man Dewi Grif­fiths through the 5km mark in 14:30.

That pack ebbed and flowed but held to­gether, go­ing through 10km in 29:19 in blus­tery con­di­tions, be­fore Farah took it upon him­self to shake things up a lit­tle.

The Bri­ton de­cided to test his ri­vals by up­ping the pace and throw­ing in a 4:25 mile. It was Lilesa who re­sponded, work­ing his way to the front, but the chal­lenge of the Ethiopian, who is pre­par­ing to run the Chicago Marathon this au­tumn, didn’t last long and he be­gan to fade.

The Robert­son twins had in­sisted be­fore the race that they would do their ut­most to stop Farah and the pair were true to their word as it be­came a three-way bat­tle at the front.

Zane be­gan to strug­gle through the eight-mile marker, how­ever, and three soon be­came two as Jake stepped in to set up the tense fin­ish.

Farah is now tak­ing a break and will “walk around a bit, put some weight on” be­fore he fully im­merses him­self in his bid to be suc­cess­ful over the marathon dis­tance. “I’ll go back to Port­land and spend more time with the fam­ily be­cause I miss that,” he added. “Then I’ll de­cide where I do a block of train­ing lead­ing up to the marathon.”

An­other Bri­tish ath­lete who put up an im­pres­sive show­ing was Grif­fiths, who pro­duced a big per­sonal best over 13.1 miles to clock 62:53 for sev­enth place.

The 26-year-old is in fine form right now, fol­low­ing a com­mand­ing win at the re­cent Cardiff 10km, and is tar­get­ing Com­mon­wealth Games se­lec­tion to com­pete over 10,000m on the Gold Coast for Wales in April.

“I went through 10km in the lead­ing group but it was al­ways go­ing to be hard to stick with them,” said Grif­fiths. “It felt like it was a tough day out there and many of the guys said the same so I will take some com­fort from that.

“I’m try­ing to step things up ev­ery year and I had a promis­ing solo run at Cardiff. Run­ning 28:48 in those cir­cum­stances and that (poor) weather is com­mend­able.”

He added: “I’m hop­ing to be se­lected for the Com­mon­wealth Games next year so that might put a dif­fer­ent dy­namic on things this win­ter in terms of how much cross coun­try I do.

“I’m one of those ath­letes that al­ways wants more. I’m hard to please.

“In fact, I’d prob­a­bly say I’m more happy with how I’ve gone in the 3km and 5km this year rather than the 10km, which is my favoured event. I’m get­ting closer to go­ing to sub-28 and that is some­thing I’ve been tar­get­ing so hope­fully it will come soon.”

“I’M SORE. EV­ERY PART OF MY MUS­CLE IS ACHING BE­CAUSE I DID RUN HARD AND THERE WAS A LACK

OF TRAIN­ING”

MO FARAH

To the fore: 10-time global track cham­pion Mo Farah tried to con­trol the pace

Dewi Grif­fiths (right) ran a big per­sonal best to fin­ish sev­enth

Top three: Mo Farah, Jake Robert­son and Fey­isa Lilesa cel­e­brate

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.