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Back from nursing a long-time injury, the world’s all-time Cross Country great, Kenenisa Bekele emphatically announced his return by winning the BUPA Great North Run Half Marathon event.
World champion Messeret Defar and defending champion, compatriot Tirunesh Dibaba, both lost the crown to Kenyan Priskah Jeptoo.
It was the biggest ever road race organized by the event’s organizers, bringing together face-to-face the planet’s long-distance kings onto one stage; the 33rd edition of the Bupa Great North Run Half Marathon. With twenty nine world records under his belt, Haile G/Selassie, 11 World Cross Country Championship titles winner Kenenisa Bekele and London Olympic and World Champion double gold medallist, Britain’s Mo Farah, met in the men’s showdown.
The Ethiopian duo of Messeret Defar and triple Olympic gold medallist Tirunesh Dibaba were unable to overcome the winner Kenyan Priskah Jeptu, who was the London Marathon silver medallist, in the women’s version.
Taking turns, Haile and Farah stayed in front for most of the way, with the ultimate winner Kenenisa lurking behind. 400 meters from the finishing line, it was Kenenisa versus Farah who were neck-to-neck in an amazing battle of will and speed. However, Kenenisa left Farah behind at the final 50-meter mark, with the Brit unable to respond to the continued surge. Farah was second with the Great Haile finishing third.
Kenyan Priskah Jeptoo surprised the two Ethiopian favourites by unleashing an almost record-breaking sprint to win the race in 15:49, with Messeret second in 66:09 and Tirunesh coming third seconds later.
It is certainly a race to be remembered for the ages and the organizers were quite successful in making the dream race come true.