Justin Lagat wrote this piece on the 2018 Great North Run, and how Mo Farah and Vivan Cheruiyot will use their victories to prepare for fall marathons. Here’s his observations on the 38th race.
Mo Farah seemed to be up to something in the men’s race, probably to send a warning to his rivals ahead of the Chicago marathon on 7th October. He just sprang away from gun! Daniel Wanjiru followed and stuck just behind him before Bashir Abdi and Jake Robertson joined them to make a group of only four athletes remaining within the first 2 miles of the race.
The pace kept undulating as Mo Farah seemed to be clearly the one controlling the pace while the rest hung on. At 6 miles there were just three athletes in the lead pack: Mo Farah, Jake Robertson and Abdi, Wanjiru becoming the first one to drop from the leading pack when the pace went up a little. Abdi was the next one to drop as Robertson ran behind Farah as though to use him as a shield against the head wind. But, with about a kilometer to go, Farah broke loose and began to open up a gap against Robertson to win the race in 59:26. Robertson managed to squeeze his time under 1hr as she stopped his watch at 59:57. Abdi came in third with 60:43.
The women’s race was dominated by Kenyans. By around 20 minutes into the already all five Kenyan women were in the leading pack. It promised to be a clear 1-2-3-4-5- finish for them, but then, Betsy Saina suddenly pulled out of the race at around the 15km mark seeming to be in distress as she went out of the course and laid down on the grass before being attended to by the fans along the road.
Linet Maasai then dropped back from the leading back shortly followed by Joyciline Jepkosgei , the world record holder over the distance, as the race for the title remained clearly between Vivian Cheruiyot and Brigid Kosgei. The last stages of the race saw Cheruiyot pushing hard to break away while Kosgei kept the gap from growing further. Cheruiyot won the race in a fast time of 67:43, Kosgei closely behind her in 67:52 and Jepkosgei holding off Maasai for third place in 68:10.
Vivian Cheruiyot will be running the New York City Marathon in November while Mo Farah will be running the Chicago marathon next month. Their victories here go a long way in giving them the much needed confidence ahead of their big upcoming races.
The medals for the 2018 Great North Run, photo by Great Run Company
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