Gebrselassie sets 2012 world lead at Bupa Great Manchester Run
Sunday, 20 May 2012
May 20 - Ethiopia's Haile Gebrselassie earned a fourth consecutive victory in the Bupa Great Manchester Run over 10 kilometres, and his fifth overall, recording the fastest time in the world so far this year – 27min 39sec.
It was a vintage performance by the 39-year-old former world and Olympic champion over a field which included his young Ethiopian rivals Tsegaye Kebede, the Beijing 2008 Olympic marathon bronze medallist, and former world junior cross country champion Ayele Abshero.
Also running was Kenya's Patrick Makau, who overtook Gebrselassie's world record in winning the 2011 Berlin Marathon, but who was controversially omitted from the Olympic team after dropping out of the Virgin London Marathon this April.
Another former world 10,000 metres gold medallist was in dominant form on the day as Linet Masai of Kenya won the women's title in 31:35.
Kebede at 25, four years older than Abshero, finished marginally clear as both recorded 27:56, with Uganda's Stephen Kiprotich following them home with a personal best mark of 28:19, two seconds clear of Makau.
Gebrselassie grinning like a Cheshire cat when asked whether he plans chasing a 10,000m position in what will be the official Ethiopian Olympic trial at the FBK-Games in Hengelo next Sunday (May 27), replied: "Possibly....we'll see."
Masai the odds-on favourite was never troubled in her contest where she was quite happy to follow a fairly quick pace imposed by Britain's Mara Yamauchi looking to get some speed into her legs before her second successive Olympic marathon appearance in August.
Yamauchi led a group of Europeans Nadia Ejjafini and Anna Incerti of Italy plus her British colleagues Gemma Steel and Charlotte Purdue through 3km in 9:29, with Masai and fellow Kenyan's Doris Changiwo and Irene Jerotich tagged on the back of the pack.
Steel who has been the host nation's most prominent runner for the last 12 months and won the SPAR Great Ireland Run ahead of Purdue surprisingly fell away with Ejjafini who has represented both Morocco and Bahrain before becoming an Italian citizen in 2009, taking up the pace.
Then at 5km in 15:47 Masai put in a telling surge which immediately broke the backs of her rivals and successive kilometre splits of 3:08 and 3:04 saw her roar away to a 17 second success from 34-year-old Ejjafini who was rewarded with a personal best and Changiwo the 2010 Commonwealth Games marathon silver medallist who recorded 32:04.
Then came the short but fast moving feet of 20-year-old Purdue a former European junior cross country title holder who won the battle of the British contingent in a time of 32:13 with Yamauchi sixth and Steel ninth crossing the line in 32:28 and 33:42.
"She [Yamauchi] went off fast, so I was just happy to sit in," said Masai the event's first Kenyan champion since her training partner world 5,000m and 10,000m gold medallist scored the nation's first Manchester victory three years ago.
Yamauchi sixth finisher in the Beijing Olympic marathon and running injury free after a turbulent spell since then, said: "I'm very happy with the time and I know where I am at in my training.
"I felt comfortable."
Purdue, along with Steel planning to attack the Olympic 10,000m qualifier at the European Cup meet in Bilbao on June 3, said: "Mara was pushing the pace then at 5km Masai put in a big surge and I found myself running on my own.
"But I'm happy with how it went."
March 2012: Record 40,000 entrants set for Bupa Great Manchester Run
March 2012: Gebrselassie to give Radcliffe a start in Vienna's OMV half marathon
February 2012: Tokyo Olympic dreams boosted by marathon as Gebrselassie's hopes fade
September 2011: Kenyan sets world record in Berlin Marathon as Gebrselassie drops out
September 2011: For Gebrselassie making it to London 2012 is more important than winning Berlin Marathon