Hailie Gebrselassie not only honoured 10-year-old old promise made to race chairman Brendan Foster to compete - but he also won today's Bupa 30th Great North Run with a fabulous performance.
The World’s greatest ever distance runner on a fantastic day for Ethiopia - with Berhane Adere scoring a second Bupa Great North Run success in the women's race - saw the superstar destroy the opposition with a rock solid victory on the half marathon trek from Newcastle to South Shields.
Gebrselassie after a fast start which ignited even more when Jaouad Gharib dashed to the front and opened a 20 metres lead just after one mile, took control around halfway to romp to victory in an impressive time of 59 minutes 33 seconds.
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His surge at that point destroyed the ambitions of Kiplimo Kimutai and further back Gharib who repeated their second and third positions of last year when finishing in 61min 23sec and 62min dead.
In the women's race Adere, who was winner in 2005 also scored a dominant victory ahead of the Portuguese pair of Ana Dulce Felix and Marisa Barros in an impressive time of 68min 49sec.
Adere and Felix fought a cat and mouse duel until the former World Half Marathon champion finally managed to get clear and motor quickly to another success with two miles of the race remaining.
Felix chased hard to finish in 69min 01sec with Portuguese teammates Barros and Moreira following her home in 69min 09sec and 70min 08sec with Yamauchi fifth in 70min 39sec.
“It was a good race to win and for a second time,” said 37-year-old Adere. “I was tested hard by Felix but finally managed to pull away."
Gebrselassie who should have debuted in the Bupa Great North Run after the 2000 Sydney Olympics but injured himself retaining his 10000m title, confessed he was delighted the promise he made to Foster had finally been achieved.
"This is the Great North Run, it is so big and wonderful and it is good to be part of its history," said the 37-year-old who is getting ready for an autumn marathon.
"It’s nice to have won over a historical course and a race which has been running for 30 years."
David Weir blazed to a fourth Bupa Great North Run wheelchair success when retaining his title in 44min 49sec ahead of Josh Cassidy (44:55) and Rafael Botello (47:23).
Shelly Woods collected a third victory by a huge margin with a time of 52min 59sec. Francesca Porcellato runner up in 57min 09sec and Nikki Emmerson clocked 65:44 for third.
Results Men: 1, H Gebrselassie (Ethiopia) 59:33; 2, K Kimutai (Kenya) 61:23; 3, J Gharib (Morocco) 62:00; 4, D Ritzenhein (USA) 62:35; 5, A Bouramdane (Morocco) 62:40; 6, J Utriainen (Finland) 62:42; 7, M Fagan (Ireland) 63:24; 8, J-M Martinez (Spain) 63:26; 9, A Lemoncello (GB) 63:48; 10, P Wicks (GB) 64:09.
Women: 1, B Adere (Ethiopia) 68:49; 2, A-D Felix (Portugal) 69:01; 3, M Barros (Por) 69:09; 4, S Moreira (Por) 70:08; 5, M Yamauchi (GB) 70:39; 6, A Aguilar (Spain) 73:20; 7, L Damen (GB) 73:24; 8, A Dixon (GB) 74:15; 9, M McCambridge (Ireland) 74:32; 10, R Robinson (GB) 75:02.
Wheelchairs: Men: 1, D Weir (GB) 44:49; 2, J Cassidy (Canada) 44:55; 3, R Botello (Spain) 47:23; 4, E van Dyk (South Africa) 47:35; 5, B Alldis (GB) 47:46; 6, M Telford (GB) 50:11. Women: 1, S Woods (GB) 52:59; 2, F Porcellato (Italy) 57:09; 3, N Emmerson (GB) 65:44;