Gemma Steel has carved out a finest victory as she convincingly defeated New York-bound Jo Pavey by a sound 20 seconds, 32:52 to 33:12 respectively, over 10km at the Great Yorkshire Run in Sheffield, capping a very good overall season on all surfaces.
The course was reported to be quite tough so eventual times apparently merited a good deal more, with the winner just four seconds off her best still. Pavey said, though, that she wasn’t feeling well after the race but hopefully there’s nothing wrong that could affect her efforts in the Big Apple marathon in a few weeks.
She is hoping to draw a fast qualifying time, well inside her recent PB of 2h28:24 in London, that will impress selectors enough to name her alongside Paula Radcliffe in the respective panel’s first meeting on 5 December, so that she could fully focus on her preparations for the Olympics without any loose ends left.
Seasoned Irish girl Maria McCambridge came third a long way behind in 34:39 and Rebecca Robinson followed in 35:08 in fourth.
Women’s Results (Top 5)
1.Gemma Steel 32:52, 2.Jo Pavey 33:12, 3.Maria McCambridge (IRL) 34:39, 4.Rebecca Robinson 35:08, 5.Lauren Jeska 35:33
On the men’s side, Chris Thompson had to yield to the ascendancy of top Kenyan Micah Kogo, a late entry in the stead of Craig Mottram (AUS), but he should be more than content to get another solid race under his belt en route back to his best form, coming runner-up in 29:03.
The winner, a former holder of the world’s best over the distance, forced the pace to place considerable distance between and finish in 28:45, an 18-second winning margin, for a convincing victory.
In a different race a long way behind, Scot Andrew Lemoncello turned on an improved run as he engaged in another tight duel with ‘chaser Stuart Stokes, the pair coming home tied in 29:57 – a time faster than both ran in Edinburgh last weekend where the Scot was again the better but by a second.
Men’s Results (Top 5)
1.Micah Kogo (KEN) 28:45, 2.Chris Thompson 29:03, 3.Andrew Lemoncello 29:57, 4.Stuart Stokes 29:57, 5.Sean Connolly (IRL) 30:15, …, 7.Ryan McLeod 30:39
Meanwhile, Beijing Olympian Liz Yelling won the Great Eastern Run half marathon in 72:14 in quite windy conditions which was just 14 seconds outside her SB, showing that she is edging back to her best form herself. The 36-year-old has suffered a long spell in the doldrums since 2008 through injuries but looks like drawing out at just about the time to make a late bid for an Olympic berth herself.
Dane Jessica Draskau-Peterson was second in a big PB of 73:42 with former World U20 1500m bronze medalist Emma Pallant fourth in a considerable PB of her own in 75:44, looking more and more bound towards longer distances.
Edwin Kiptoo (KEN) was heads and shoulders above anyone else to cross the line well over three minutes ahead of his closest rival, Edwin Kipkorir (65:42, KEN), in a course record of 62:28. Steeplechaser Glen Watts was the first Briton home in a PB of 66:21.
Along similar lines, Mara Yamauchi, sixth in Beijing three years ago, displayed a swift return to form by way of a solo-run course record of 32:19 clocking to win over 10km in Berlin, Germany – amazingly enough in her first competition this season. That was her second best ever, and her fastest time over the distance since her PB of 31.43 in 2006 so augurs well for a strong comeback over the marathon, scheduled to have a crack at the Olympic A standard in Yokohama. An intermediate stop, however, and a more precise measure of her form will be over the half marathon in Birmingham this Sunday.
Leonard Komon (KEN) made a strong impression as he powered to an equal global-leading 27:15, tying Sheffield winner Micah Kogo’s mark, to dominate the men’s race by a sound 30 secs from compatriot Josphat Bett, with Henry Kiplagat making it a clean sweep for the Kenyans in 27:52.