Men’s Invitational 3000m

The ‘Mad Season’, as Gary Neville dubbed the current run in the English Premiership, rubbed off on the top drawer of the day at Hollyrood Park as the race unfolded totally against the form books or the complexion of the field, with the eagerly anticipated clash between three reigning Olympic and a former world champions never taking shape.

Great Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) turned up a mere ghost of himself as he floundered on the hilly muddy course and sunk deep into the field, a stark contrast to his pre-race statements, to raise far more questions over his fitness than he would have hoped to answer while Brimin Kipruto Kiprop (KEN) also languished thereabouts for an entirely anonymous outing, knocking plenty of the gloss off the affair.

On the far end up front, rising distance prospect Jonny Hay, on the back of a disappointing 8th in the U20s in Velenje at that, came to perform beyond his wildest dreams as he turned on a finishing kick that even his illustrious rivals would have envied for an astonishing runner-up, on a rare occasion to dare outshine his female groupmates in Mick Woods’s squad.

Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) showed some early purpose to assert himself but was never really convincing at the top and it was Ross Millington, the European U23 5000m silver medallist, to scent the opening and take his chance to burst to the front and quickly carve out a solid gap up front, driving hard round the second kilometre.

Reading the situation at a glance, Asbel Kiprop (KEN), the reigning Olympic and world 1500m champion, swiftly emerged in the hole between the Briton and the stretched out chasing pack to gain a hold on the race, his rangy figure striding beautifully along, and breezed past into the lead with aplomb as soon as the race entered its crucial final third.

The Kenyan was now in full flight and control to swiftly fashion plenty of daylight behind him and kept pulling away round the last lap, occasionally checking behind, to a commanding victory and a grand premiere in his campaign to defend his Olympic crown, an eventual winning margin of 5 secs in a time of 9:20, while Kipchoge and Spaniard Juan Carlos Higuero clawed their way back and round a tiring Millington in an effective scramble for the minor podium spots.

Hay hadn’t shown much until very late when he moved into fourth past former race winner Ricky Stevenson, who had figured in the top five meantime, but even at 200m out was looking way out of a top three finish. Yet, he somehow conjured up a nearly surreal turn of gear off the last hill to storm past startled both Kipchoge and Higuero over the final several strides and snatch second in 9:25 in a memorable breakthrough performance.

The youngster had every reason to float on cloud nine after the race and he will be brimming with confidence and excitement looking ahead at a season that could hold so much in store for him, even alluding to a crack at an Olympic berth. On that evidence, he could go a long way towards that end!

Kipchoge held off Higuero to grab third in an identical time a second behind (9:26) to save the day where Stevenson consolidated a return to form a further four seconds adrift in 9:30 and a plucky Millington had to do with sixth finally in 9:34.

But there was no screen of mist or smoke to conceal the embarrassment of a deflated Bekele who dragged home way down the order in 11th in 9:42, Kipruto just a stride behind in the same time, and the great Ethiopian looks as though he has got an awful lot to do to haul back into contention for gold in the remaining months leading up to London.

Results

1.Asbel Kiprop (KEN) 9:20, 2.Jonny Hay (U23) 9:25, 3.Eliud Kipchoge (KEN) 9:26, 4.Juan Carlos Higuero (ESP) 9:26, 5.Ricky Stevenson 9:30, 6.Ross Millington 9:34, 7.Callum Hawkins (U23) 9:39, 8.Arturo Casado (ESP) 9:40, 9.Steve Vernon 9:41, …, 11.Kenenisa Bekele (ETH) 9:42, 12.Brimin Kipruto (KEN) 9:42, …, 15.Tony Whiteman (V40) 10:08, 17.Adam Cotton (U23) 10:21

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Mens-Invitational-3K-Results.pdf

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Senior Men’s 8km

European cross-country champion Atelaw Bekele‘s aggressive front-run tactics did not take the field by surprise, like they worked in Velenje, and Ayam Landassem clawed his way quickly back after a familiar early burst by the Belgian, with compatriot Javier Guerra and American John Grey briefly joining up.

The Spaniard tucked alongside nicely and only struck out for home in the late stages for an eventual convincing win by three seconds in 25:44 as another American, Bobby Mack, followed on through to snatch second at the end.

The Brits looked more content with team tactics, rewarded with the win in the end, and Frank Tickner showed late to edge into the top five past a tiring Guerra in 25:55. Steve Vernon, in his first race of two on the day, was back in seventh in 26 mins dead followed by Tom Humphries a further spot behind.

Results

1.Ayam Lamdassem (ESP) 25.44, 2.Bobby Mack (USA) 25:47, 3.Atelaw Bekele (BEL) 25:47, 4.John Grey (USA) 25:52, 5.Frank Tickner 25:55, 6.Javier Guerra (ESP) 26:00, 7.Steve Vernon 26:00, 8.Tom Humphries 26:07, 10.Jonny Taylor 26:13, 16.James Walsh 26:45, 17.James Wilkinson (U23) 26:48, 18.Derek Hawkins (U23) 26:50

Teams: 1.EUR 44, 2.GBR 58, 3.USA 76

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Senior-Men-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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Senior Women’s 6km

1.Fionnuala Briton (IRL) 21:32, 2.Gemma Steel 21:52, 3.Elle Baker 22:08, 4.Neely Spence (USA) 22:11, 5.Freya Murray 22:17, 6.Hattie Dean 22:27, …, 8.Hannah Walker 22:29, 9.Steph Twell 22:33, 13.Naomi Taschimowitz 22:53, 18.Rosie Smith 23:18

Teams: 1.GBR 33, 2.EUR 61, 3.USA 89

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Senior-Women-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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The late stages of the Junior men’s race in Edinburgh where Kirubel Erassa (USA) edges out Kieron Clements and Mark Shaw for the top honours

U20 Men’s 6km

1.Kirubel Erassa (USA) 19:54, 2.Kieron Clements 19:55, 3.Mark Shaw 19:58, 4.Eddie Owens (USA) 20:08, 5.Andrew Gardner (USA) 20:11, …, 9.Jack Goodwin 20:22, 13.Charlie Grice 20:42, 17.Robbie Farnham-Rose 20:54, 18.Gordon Benson 20:56

Teams: 1.USA 16, 2.GBR 26, 3.EUR 48

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Junior-Men-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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Emelia Gorecka romps to a faraway victory in the junior women’s race

U20 Women’s 4km

1.Emelia Gorecka 14:48, 2.Aisling Cuffe (USA) 15:09, 3.Molly Siedel (USA) 15:57,…, 5.Iona Lake 15:27

Teams: 1.USA 15, 2.GBR 27, 3.EUR 62

http://www.greatrun.org/app_files/gr_files/Bupa-Great-Edinburgh-XCountry-2012-Junior-Women-Team-Challenge-Results.pdf

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