The Great North Run is the largest half marathon in the world with 57,000 runners and walkers. Here’s Stuart Weir’s feature on the women’s elite race, won by Vivian Cheruiyot. We thank Stuart Weir for his season long coverage of the athletics season. Now, hopefully, he can get some rest.
Great North Run – women’s race
Vivian Cheruiyot won her second Great North Run in a time of 1:07.43, a PR for the half-marathon by 1 second. Five Kenyans broke away from the rest of the field early on with Joyciline Jepkosgei, Betty Saina, Brigit Kosogei and Linet Masai joining Cheruiyot.
The early pace was not fast with mile times of 5.26, 5.29, 5.15, 5.24 and 5.28. Betsy Saina dropped out after 9 miles and then there were four. Masai later fell back from the leading group. After an hour, Cheruiyot opened up a 5 meter gap, but Kosgei did not let her get away, and the race was between the two as they turned on to the South Shields seafront, where Cheruiyot found something extra and surged ahead to win in 1:07.43 with Kosgei second in 1:07.52.
Cheruiyot said afterwards: “I feel good. I think I have done almost the same time as last year. The first 10K was a bit slow but I had a little bit of hamstring so I am happy for the win. The weather was good and [the pace] was OK for me as I had a hamstring and it was supposed to warm up a little bit. But I don’t complain. “
“This is good preparation for the New York Marathon. I now know where I am and I am going to train for the marathon. I think the hamstring will be fine. It will clear in 3 weeks. It will be OK and I can do the training for New York”.
She admitted that she was not sure who would win until the end, saying: “When you are running with someone at the front, everyone is strong and it will depend on what you are going to do it. Brigid is strong I know her so I thought if she is going to win it is OK”.
I have known Vivian for 7 years – we met in Daegu, Korea in 2011, when she won the 5k and 10K. I remember when she started running on the road she did not win her early races. She told me that people expected her to win but she did not expect to made the adjustment to road-running immediately. I wondered how she now assessed it looking back. She told me: “I am happy because it is just 2 years and I feel that I am improving every race”.
She is going home to Kenya to celebrate her birthday on Tuesday and to prepare for New York.