• Great North Run

Farah edged by Bekele in Great North Run

ESPN staff
September 15, 2013
Mo Farah could not overhaul Kenenisa Bekele in a thrilling climax to the Great North Run © ESPN.co.uk

Mo Farah was held off by Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele to finish runner-up after a pulsating climax to the Great North Run.

The double world and Olympic champion had closed on Bekele, competing in his maiden half marathon, in the final 400m.

But Farah reached the finish line of the 13.1 mile race from Newcastle upon Tyne to South Shields in one hour and 10 seconds, one second behind Bekele.

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Bekele's compatriot Haile Gebrselassie, 40, trailed home in third after drifting back over the last mile, but still set a world record over the distance for over-40s with a time of 1:01:41.

"I'm disappointed but I was second to a great athlete," said Farah.

Farah, Bekele and Gebrselassie have 12 world titles and seven Olympic gold medals between them and could not be separated until Bekele began to break away.

"When Kenenisa went with a mile to go, I thought the pace was ridiculous," said Farah, who was looking to add to his 5,000m and 10,000m wins at the Moscow World Championships last month.

"I thought I could come back. It came to the last 200m, right to the line. It was a great race and a great finish."

Priscah Jeptoo, the London Marathon winner and London 2012 silver medallist, was victorious in the women's race.

The Kenyan finished just five seconds slower than the course record 1:05:40 set by Britain's Paula Radcliffe 10 years ago.

Meseret Defar finished runner-up in 1:06:09 but ahead of fellow Ethiopian and pre-race favourite Tirunesh Dibaba.

Britain's David Weir won the men's wheelchair race for a fourth time, finishing in 43.03.

"It was a good test to see where I'm at," said Weir. "I surprised myself. I've only been back pushing for a couple of weeks so I'm really pleased with that time."

Compatriot Shelly Woods claimed a fifth victory in the women's wheelchair race, crossing the line in 54.28. "The wind was swirling and I found it difficult out there," said Woods. "I'm doing the New York marathon in November and this is great preparation for it."

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