11th September 2016
Farah Completes Great North Run Hat-trick
Two-time double Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah (coach: Alberto Salazar) capped another monumental year of achievement with victory at the Great North Run, breaking the tape in 1:00:04 to claim victory in South Shields, becoming the first male to achieve a Great North Run hat-trick in the process.
Running for the first time since a successful defence of his 5000m Olympic title in Rio, Farah spent the first 10km on the heels of Kenya’s Emmanuel Bett and the USA’s Dathan RItzenhai, with the sight of the pair trading places something of a familiarity as the trio pulled away from the 40,000 strong field at around the twenty minute mark.
The front running trio swept through the opening 10km in 28:30, with Farah and marathon specialist Ritzenhai pulling away from Bett as they gained on the 15km mark. It wasn’t until the 12 mile point that Farah made his race winning move, stepping on the gas to overtake the American as the pair tackled the final slopes of a picturesque course, with Farah afforded an unfamiliar lone run for the line as he came home just outside the hour mark.
Reflecting on the victory, a beaming Farah commented: “It was tough today, but it was definitely amazing to have so many people cheering for me, that’s what drove me to the line. Dathan [Ritzenhai] made me work so hard for it and it made for a great race, Emmanuel [Bett] too, but I just had to hang in for dear life”
“Dathan certainly had me worried, with three miles to go I thought ‘should I just let him go?’, but I decided to hang on with him. When we got to the downhill – I remember last year racing against Haile Gebrselassie, and he just went, so that’s what I aimed for, I just went as hard as I could to make that gap and hold it.”
Alongside Farah’s victory, there were top eight finishes for two fellow Brits in the men’s race, with 2010 European 10,000m silver medallist Chris Thompson (Mark Rowland) clocking 1:03.35 for seventh, and Ben Connor coming home in eighth with a posting of 1:04:13.
In the women’s race, it was 5000m Olympic champion Vivian Cheruiyot of Kenya who stole the victory away from her compatriot Rita Jeptoo, with Olympic 10,000m bronze medallist Tirunesh Dibaba of Ethiopia taking third.
For Cheruiyot, the victory was well earned on the day she celebrated her 33rd birthday, and the Kenyan spoke on a hard-fought victory afterwards: “I was very nervous on the start line, and Rita is a strong lady, so I was fighting and fighting all the way to the finish, she’s so strong and I want to congratulate her. The last 400m was tough, but to win here on my birthday is so nice”
Charlotte Purdue (Nic Bideau) was the first British women over the line for fifth, the Aldershot Farnham & District athlete clocking 1:12:13, just 30 seconds shy of her 1:11::43 best, with Gemma Steel (Rob Denmark), Lily Partridge and Freya Ross joining Purdue in claiming top 10 finishes.
Purdue spoke post-race: “It was a great run, I just wanted to put a strong race together ahead of Berlin marathon in two weeks, so I didn’t want to go all out, but it’s certainly a solid base to work off. I did want to be the first Brit over the line, so the race worked out well overall.”
Alyson Dixon, a 28th place finisher in the marathon in Rio, came in just behind the 11th placed Victoria Knight, and the British Olympian spoke on her 12th place afterwards, as well as her plans for the remainder of the year.
“I really enjoyed it, I’ve got a sore shoulder and hand from all the high-fives along the last mile, but it was great fun. It’s hard to compare today to running in Rio, but we do have the beautiful beach of South Shields which is something of a reminder of Copacabana.
“I’m not 100% sure what comes next competition-wise, I’ll have to sit down talk a few things through with a few people, but hopefully there’s some road races later in the year for me.”
In the opening event of the day, the Great North Run wheelchair race, Mark Telford sealed victory in 49:02 ahead of five other Brits, with Bret Crossley (Paul Moseley) finishing just a second behind Telford following an enthralling sprint finish. Callum Hall took third in 50:42, with Red Star AC athlete Sean Frame (Ian Mirfin) in fourth with a 54:36 posting.
Full results from the Great North Run will be uploaded to: