Farah and Keitany successfully defend Great North Run titles

Farah and Keitany successfully defend Great North Run titles

Provided by IAAF

Mo Farah and Mary Keitany successfully defended their titles at the Morrisons Great North Run, an IAAF Gold Label Road Race, on Sunday (13).

Britain’s double world champion produced another thrilling performance with a sprint finish, winning in 59:22 to beat Kenya’s Stanley Biwott by just two seconds. Mike Kigen of Kenya took third in 1:00:10, followed by Stephen Mokoka of South Africa in 1:00:40. Uganda’s Thomas Ayeko was fifth in 1:01:14.

The point-to-point course of the Great North Run is not eligible for records, so while Farah’s time is the fastest of his career, it will not count as a European record. Farah broke that mark earlier this year in Lisbon with 59:32.

In good weather conditions, Kenya’s Mary Keitany produced a solo run to win in 1:07:32, her 12th consecutive victory over the distance.

Britain’s Gemma Steel repeated her second place from last year with a time of 1:11:00. Jelena Prokopcuka of Latvia took third with 1:11:52 while Britain’s Alyson Dixon and USA’s Adrianna Nelson followed in fifth and sixth with times of 1:12:07 and 1:12:29 respectively.

The two winners became the fifth and sixth runners in the history of the event to achieve back-to-back victories. Great Britain’s Mike McLeod (1981 and 1982) and Kenya’s late Benson Masya (1991 and 1992) both won twice in a row, as did Australia’s Lisa Martin Ondieki (1986 and 1987) and Britain’s Liz McColgan (1995 and 1996) in the women’s race.

About 57,000 runners entered the Morrisons Great North Run, but organisers had to deal with a number of high-profile late cancellations in the women’s race.

Kenya’s Priscah Jeptoo, the 2013 winner of the Great North Run, had to withdrew because she caught malaria. Ethiopia’s London Marathon winner Tigist Tufa decided not to run because she had not recovered from the World Championships marathon in Beijing, where she placed sixth just two weeks ago. Ethiopia’s world 10,000m silver medallist Gelete Burka also withdrew.

Jorg Wenig for the IAAF