PORTSMOUTH, October 27 – Bernard Kipyego emerged victorious in this year’s BUPA Great South Run in Southern England on Sunday in a time of 46:43.
Irishman Martin Fagan produced a storming finish to snatch second spot just three seconds ahead of defending champion Luke Kibet in a time of 46:58. The reigning World marathon champion took the final podium place.
In the women’s race Paula Radcliffe sent out a clear warning she is in mint condition to defend her New York Marathon crown after a world-class performance.
Radcliffe set a UK-best performance of 51 minutes 11 seconds with Kenya’s Magdalene Mukunzi, finishing third in 53:18.
Until she hit the six-mile marker Radcliffe was still well on target to smash Lornah Kiplagat’s world best of 50:49.6 but decided because of the gusty wind to keep something in reserve.
Radcliffe said: "I felt in the last two miles it was going to be really windy, so saved a little bit for that. Actually it wasn’t too bad down the sea front as I was psyched up for it to be."
After testing her physical fitness almost fully, she also celebrated not feeling any reaction to either the stress fracture in her her left hip or calf injuries, the latter which hindered her dreams of winning the Olympic Marathon in China.
It also fully justified her decision to take to the roads just 10 weeks after finishing a deeply disappointing 23rd in Beijing and helped shape her up for next Sunday’s massive confrontation in New York.
Radcliffe, who some critics believe should have had a longer rest, said: "The only thing to recover from in Beijing was that I wasn’t in shape."
"I hadn’t done enough running. I think I’ve done a bit more now and I felt more confident standing on the start line because you know you’ve done the preparations. At the Olympic Games I wasn’t prepared and just had to get on with it. I just wanted to use today to have to have a good blow out."
Meanwhile, Kenyans completed the double at the edition of the Marseille – Cassis International Classic, road race.
Wilson Chebet and Ines Chenonge conquered tough opposition to win on the 20.308km road race along Mediterranean Sea.
Rwandan Dieudionné Disi, led the race into a fast rhythm, leading a group of runners including Chebet, Kiplagat, Kyui, Ugandese Kosgei, Tanzanian Shauri and the two French, El Himmer and Munyutu.
Eventually, only Chebet, the favourite and 2007 winner of the race, managed to maintain the effort and was now by himself at the front. Disi, about 10 metres back, emerged as the only contender at mid-way and finally managed to close the gap at the mid-way on the top of Gineste.
Chebet increased his lead while entering Cassis, while incredible Disi came close in front again.
Downtown, the last uphill was fatal to the Rwandan, and last year’s winner Chebet crossed the finish line on one hour race exactly, 59sec short of the race record held by Kenyan James Kwambai since 2002. Kosgei and Shauri faded to 3rd and 4th places, respectively.
“I was afraid because I found somebody was on my back (Dieudonné Disi) so I had to do my best,” reckoned Chebet. “However I still had a lot of strength. Next year I’ll try to break the race record but today the weather was too hot.”
Favourite Ines Chenonge didn’t let anyone lead the women’s race, accompanied by her teammate Gladys Cherono and Ethiopian Shewaye Kebede.