Great Scottish Run: Haile Gebrselassie wins in course record

By Keir MurrayBBC Sport Scotland
Feature: Great Scottish Run

Double Olympic gold medallist Haile Gebrselassie broke clear of Kenya's Emmanuel Bett in the final stages to win the Great Scottish Run in Glasgow.

The 40-year-old Ethiopian, in his first appearance in Scotland, crossed the line in 61 minutes nine seconds, a record for the annual half-marathon.

Three Scots finished in the first four of the women's race.

Leeds-based Susan Partridge beat Freya Ross to the line, with Kenya's Pauline Wanjiku third and Steph Twell fourth.

Olympian Katherine Grainger set the 23,000 runners under way from George Square in the city centre, with the start delayed by about 20 minutes.

Kenya's Joseph Birech had been aiming to become the first man to win three successive Great Scottish Run titles but it was Gebrselassie, 28-year-old Bett and Moroccan-born Ayad Lamdassem, 32, who soon moved clear of the field.

Women's winner Susan Partridge with runner-up Freya Ross and fourth place Steph Twell
Women's race winner Susan Partridge with runner-up Freya Ross and fourth place Steph Twell

Having led the way for the first 5km, Gebrselassie invited the others to take their turn at the front.

Bett accepted and only the legendary Ethiopian athlete could match his explosive break as the duo dropped Spain-based Lamdassem on a route taking in many of the venues to host events at next year's Commonwealth Games.

At 15km, the Moroccan was trailing by 25 seconds in warm, overcast conditions.

Gebrselassie, the world record holder at 20,000m and the one-hour race, surged 100m clear of long-legged Bett with a mile to go as they headed along the Broomielaw towards the city centre.

And he maintained the gap over the final mile to cross the line first at Glasgow Green, 31 seconds before Bett.

America-based Andrew Lemoncello, who will represent Scotland in the marathon at the Commonwealth Games, finished sixth in 1:04:55, six seconds behind's England's Chris Thompson in fifth spot.

"Today was really wonderful. I am so happy," said Gebrselassie. "It was a perfect set-up. I didn't expect this kind of weather.

"When I saw the time at 15k I knew we were heading for a fast time.

"After losing out in the last mile at the Bupa Great North Run I had to get clear today and decided to make my move when I did and it worked so well, I'm happy with this win."

Oban's Partridge, 33, had looked a strong contender for the title, with her confidence buoyed by an excellent 10th-place finish in the marathon at the World Championships in Moscow in August.

She, Ross and Wanjiku set a brisk pace that ensured the trio were clear of the field.

Wanjiku was dropped as the three runners progressed along Paisley Road West in the city's south side and Ross, back from injury, was next to struggle with Partridge's speed as she moved 46 seconds ahead after 15km, with Wanjiku a further 54 seconds back.

Though she slowed in the closing stages, Partridge was never in danger of being caught and came home ahead of the field in 1:10:40.

Ross was next in, on 1:11:51.

"I'm delighted to have won the race," Partridge told BBC Sport. "Scotland should be proud of its distance runners."

The 10k was won by Callum Hawkins in a time of 29:39 with the women's title being clinched by Beth Potter in 34:04.

Maryport's Simon Lawson won the elite 10k men's wheelchair race in a time of 24:21, while Sammi Kinghorn from Kelso took the women's wheelchair title with a time of 30:59.

On Saturday about 3,000 children took part in Super Saturday events for families and juniors.

The Great Scottish Run was first held in 1982 and has grown each year, with 24,089 people taking part last year.

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