The 2013 great North run was billed by the promoters as a contests between Ethiopian legends, Tirunesh Dibaba and Meseret Defer. In the end however, Pricash Jeptoo did not just beat both of them, she finished a good 21 seconds ahead of Defar and 71 seconds ahead of Dibaba.
Impressive Time Splits
In winning the race, Jeptoo unleashed an impresive split in which she covered 10 km in 30:03. This is 40 seconds faster than the time Dibaba won the women’s 10,000m at the 2013 world championships which was 30:43.35. Even accounting for the presence of a tailwind, the time was impressive.
Jeptoo also unleashed a 4:34 mile split. And this was after was after 11.1 miles of hard running. It is impressive when you consider that the 1 mile race at the great North run was won in 4;33.
These impressive splits left many thinking that if Priscah Jeptoo focused on the track and ran the 5000m and 10,000m, she could easily challenge for gold medals in those races. Too bad track running is no longer lucrative enough for distance runners like Jeptoo.
The 29 year-old Kenyan who won the London Marathon in 2012 actually crossed the line in South Shields five seconds quicker than the official world record from Kenya’s Mary Keitany, who ran 65:50 in 2011. However Jeptoo’s time will not make the record books since the course, with a start in Newcastle, is a point-to-point course that is just slightly too downhill for record purposes.
Dibaba and Defar, who clashed in the Half Marathon for the first time, exchanged the lead for the first 10km, with Jeptoo running right behind them.
The pace increased slightly over next 5km section with the 10km point reached in 32:26 but it was in the third quarter of the race that the outcome was decided.
At the 13km mark, the hill climb started and this is when Jeptoo made her move. She moved in front of the Ethiopians and started to put the pressure on.
Dibaba started losing ground immediately. Defar held on, initially looking back and trying to encourage Dibaba to move back up to her, but there was no way back to the leaders for the Olympic and World 10,000m champion.
Jeptoo kept the pace very fast and ran the third 5km section in an amazing 15:03 and, soon after the she had passed the 15km mark in 47:29, Defar started to drop back as well.
Looking back a couple of times to check on the state of her rivals, the Kenyan was able to increase her lead substantially in the next few kilometres.
With the Ethiopians beaten, the question now was if Priscah Jeptoo could break Paula Radcliffe’s course record of 1:05:40 set 10 years ago.
The wind coming from behind in the final section provided some help for Jeptoo but, Ultimately, though, the Kenyan, drained by the effort of ploughing solo through the last three miles, struggled over the last 400m stretch to miss out on the mark by just five seconds.
Defar held onto second place in 66:09 while Dibaba was third in 66:56. France’s Christelle Daunay was the first European home in fourth place with 69:49.
“It was a surprising day for me and I am amazed by the time I ran. I did not expect such a result. I think this was also a great victory for Kenya,” said Priscah Jeptoo, who will now get ready for the New York Marathon on 3 November.
The Ethiopians were not too disappointed despite the defeat.
“Tirunesh and me, we were running in the World Championships. We were a bit tired and we had not enough time to train for this, but we still clocked personal bests,” reflected Defar.
“Priscah Jeptoo is a very strong runner. She is the London Marathon champion, but Meseret and me, we ran well today. It was the last race of the season for me,” added Dibaba.
Only two women have ever run the Half Marathon faster than Jeptoo, Radcliffe and Kenya’s Susan Chepkemei, who ran 65:44 in Lisbon in 2001.
|Kenya Athletics Page|