The body and spirit of Leonard Komon were willing and eager but the god of winds was not as he released his charges over the coastal course of the Great South Run in Portsmouth, blowing away the Kenyan’s challenge on the world best over 10 miles in the end.

Having missed great Haile Gebrselassie‘s mark by a mere four seconds in Holland a month earlier, the 23-year-old was highly tipped all week to have a crack at the 44:23 landmark and never even attempted to talk it down in the run-up to the race.

As he was neither dampened by weather conditions on Sunday morning and showed intent as he burst out to an electrifying pace from the gun to swiftly open up a huge gap on the rest of the field, led by a more conservative Albert Kirui (KEN) and an enterprising Chris Thompson – who confessed post-race that he is enjoying phenomenal form in training.

Komon had claimed the race sight unseen and was gliding through the early miles well inside schedule to power halfway through in 22:08 but the question hanging over was how he was going to fare when he turned into the menacing wind. And the answer didn’t take long to arrive that it wasn’t to be his day as he started to crack up rather than crack on as the second half wore on, the pace dropping substantially, and the gusts battered him over a hellish last couple of miles to an eventual 46:18.

That 24:10 second 5-miler told the tale and the Kenyan would have to be content with a still comfortable victory, lamenting the absence of anyone around to push him on early, as double world marathon champion Kirui maintained his form well through to come runner-up in 46:40, a 22-second margin rendering a measure of Komon’s form, and a rejuvenated Alistair Cragg came through strong to clinch third in 47:14 as Thompson tailed off into fourth in the late stages.

The Irishman enjoys a second and even more blooming spring to his career, demonstrated by a brace of national records of 13:03.53 over 5000m on the track and a 60:49 behind Mo Farah in the New York half marathon, as he prepares to tackle the next big step up to the marathon shortly – and he must have taken plenty of heart by his display.

Despite a PB of 48:07 by over a minute, ‘Thommo’ rued his audacious start and admitted learning a lesson the hard way about road running to take on board for the future. At any rate, he put in plenty of strength that could stand him in good stead when he takes on Americans Dathan Ritzenhein and Matt Tegenkamp over 5km in the streets of New York on Saturday.

Scot Andrew Lemoncello finished a place behind and just 10 seconds in 48:17 to draw that so needed mental boost ahead of Daegu fourth-marker Abderrahime Bouramdane (MAR), sixth four seconds adrift, and the man in the driving seat as concerns marathon spots for the British team in London, Scott Overall. The latter got in a solid run in 48:23 and Ryan McLeod followed in a massive PB of 48:33 to round out the top eight.

Asselefech Mergia finishes firth in the Great South Run in Portsmouth

The women’s race turned a more tactical affair, by sharp contrast, as favourite Asselefech Mergia (ETH) opted to stay with the leading pack of seven over the two thirds of the race, saving for the windy tough late miles, before she moved up a gear and away to a convincing win in 52:55.

The Kenyan duo of Doris Changeywo, the Commonwealth 10000m silver medallist, and Irene Jerotich, the marathon victor in Delhi, occupied the minor top three slots in 53:34 and 53:43 respectively while Charlie Purdue turned in another scintillating performance on the trot to come a close fourth in a debut run of 53:45, just two seconds off that is, after enduring some anxious moments early on when she slipped on her ankle.

But she picked herself up quickly to rejoin the leading pack and applied well despite a slight pain for a good day’s job eventually, backing up further her claim to a place over 10000m in London next summer. What’s more, her injury proved to be no serious and she was given the go-ahead to move on with her schedule. As a matter of fact, the 20-year-old is on her way to Kenya today to join the likes of teammate Steph Twell and Stevie Stockton on a lengthy altitude training spell at the famous Rift Valley.



1.Leonard Komon (KEN) 46:18, 2.Albert Kirui (KEN) 46:40, 3.Alistair Cragg (IRL) 47:14, 4.Chris Thompson 48:07 (PB), 5.Andrew Lemoncello 48:17 (SB), 6.Abderrahime Bouramdane (MAR) 48:21, 7.Scott Overall 48:23, 8.Ryan McLeod 48:33 (PB), 9.James Walsh 48:37 (PB), 10.Jonny Mellor 49:08 (PB)


1.Asselefech Mergia (ETH) 52:55, 2.Doris Changeywo (KEN) 53:34, 3.Irene Jerotich (KEN) 53:43, 4.Charlotte Purdue 53:45 (PB, debut), 5.Marisa Barros (POR) 54:14, 6.Anna Incerti (ITA) 54:18, 7.Agnieska Ciolek (POL) 54:41, 8.Iwona Lewandowska (POL) 54:42, 9.Freya Murray 54:49 (SB), 10.Juliet Doyle 56:49 (PB)